Heap era ends in Baltimore, he's a Cardinal

OWINGS MILLS – Tight end Todd Heap ran a fly pattern out of Baltimore, leaving the Ravens to join his hometown Arizona Cardinals. Cut by the Ravens on Thursday because of his $4.6 million salary, the two-time Pro Bowl selection agreed to a two-year contract worth almost $6 million. The Ravens decided not to haggle with Heap and decided to move on.

"Excited to be an Arizona Cardinal," Heap wrote on his new Twitter account as he became the latest prominent Raven to depart via free agency. A native of Scottsdale, Ariz., who played collegiately at Arizona State, Heap was drafted in the first round by Baltimore in 2001 and quickly succeeded Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe.

He ranks first in franchise history with 41 touchdowns and ranks second in receptions with 467 catches and 5,492 receiving yards. Now, the Ravens will install Ed Dickson as the new starter as he'll work in tandem with Dennis Pitta. Dickson was drafted in the third round out of Oregon last year and caught 11 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown.

"It means a lot to me that they have that much faith in me," Dickson said prior to Heap joining the Cardinals. "I've been here one year. All I can do is just improve myself and come out to training camp and just play my game and just try to get better every day in camp and work to get that starting position. They didn't sign anything over to me. I've still got competition and I love competition."

Before Heap, 31, signed with the Cardinals, Pitta said that his mentor will be missed on and off the field.

"It's tough to see him go," Pitta said. Meanwhile, Ravens free agent cornerback Fabian Washington joined the New Orleans Saints on a one-year deal worth nearly $2 million.

"Saints," Washington wrote in a text message to the Times. "One year." Washington then added on his Twitter account: "Who Dat"

A speedy former Oakland Raiders first-round draft pick from Nebraska, Washington was replaced by Josh Wilson in the starting lineup last season after a rough game against the Buffalo Bills. Wilson signed with the Washington Redskins, joining two former Ravens teammates: center-guard Chris Chester and wide receiver Donte' Stallworth. Plus, running back Willis McGahee signed a four-year, $10 million deal to join the Denver Broncos.

Now, Washington gets a chance to prove himself again with the Saints with an eye toward becoming a free agent again in 2012.

"I absolutely enjoyed my time there," Washington said of Baltimore, where he played last season under a $1.809 million tender. "I have nothing bad to say about the organization."

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