Baxter Signs Six-Year Deal with Browns

Aaron Wilson, of the Carroll County Times - as well as - relays today's news about Gary Baxter signing a six-year deal with the Browns.

This story courtesy of Aaron Wilson, of and the Carroll County Times, Md

OWINGS MILLS -- Contrary to Baltimore-area broadcast reports, cornerback Gary Baxter didn't sign or agree to a new contract with the Baltimore Ravens. Instead, he signed a six-year contract with the Cleveland Browns.

While Baltimore area television and radio reports repeatedly claimed that the Ravens' top free agent had agreed to terms that included a $7 million signing bonus, citing sources within the organization, Baxter was actually flying Friday to join the Cleveland Browns.

"Gary is visiting the Cleveland Browns," Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "We have no deal with him."

A second-round draft pick in 2001 who has started a team-high 46 consecutive games, Baxter has always been one of Browns general manager Phil Savage's favorite players. Savage is the former Ravens' director of player personnel who left after the season to run the Browns.

During Savage's tenure in Baltimore, he continually praised Baxter for his ability and personality. Baxter had already reportedly turned down offer sheets from Baltimore that included signing bonuses of $10 million and $12 million.

The market for cornerbacks is extremely high after Ken Lucas received a $13 million bonus as part of a six-year, $36 million contract with the Carolina Panthers. The Dallas Cowboys paid $10 million in a signing bonus to former Browns corner Anthony Henry.

With Baxter's exit, the Ravens could turn to Washington Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot, a polished cover guy who turned down an extension offer during the season that would have paid him a $10 million signing bonus. The Redskins are still dangling that offer to Smoot.

Tennessee Titans unrestricted free agent Andre Dyson is another option. Dyson isn't known for being very physical, but is only 25 and has a nose for the football.

Former New England standout Ty Law is hobbled with a broken foot, but is still expected to be expensive. Titans cornerback Samari Rolle has visited the Kansas City Chiefs and reportedly wants a $15 million signing bonus. He is probably out of the Ravens' price range.

Newsome said the Ravens have no visits planned for the weekend.


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