Ravens reach agreement with seventh-round pick

OWINGS MILLS - First down, 10 more draft picks to go. Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome confirmed an agreement in principle for a three-year contract with safety Antwoine Sanders as the club completed its first rookie negotiation of the summer Tuesday morning. The club's final selection of the seventh round received a contract with a total worth close to $935,000 that includes minimum base salaries of $225,000, $305,000 and $380,000.

That also includes a signing bonus slightly more than the $24,000 received by last year's 258th overall pick, according to Sanders' agent.

"I'm just happy to get it done and get everything accomplished so fast," said Sanders, who at age 25 is the Ravens' oldest rookie. "I really wasn't too concerned. I just wanted to get ready for camp and help Baltimore out. I think it's very fair for where I was drafted."

Sanders, a 6-foot-2, 202-pound free safety, was twice named All-Mountain West Conference for the Utah Utes after transferring from Arizona Western Junior College.

Sanders worked for a few years after graduating from high school in Fayetteville, N.C. while meeting NCAA academic requirements.

In two seasons at Utah, Sanders collected 143 tackles, six interceptions and eight pass deflections.

Last season, Sanders recorded 65 tackles with two interceptions and caused and recovered a fumble. Against UNLV, Sanders returned an interception 25 yards and advanced a blocked field goal 54 yards. Rookie contracts, particularly for second-day picks, are being slotted again according to where the player was drafted because of a flat rookie pool allotment.

Last year's 258th overall pick, cornerback Brad Franklin, received a three-year contract from the Carolina Panthers worth $929,000, including a signing bonus of $24,000.

"He did better than last year's guy," said Ron Del Duca, Sanders' agent. "He's excited about getting to camp."

Meanwhile, Newsome reiterated what he said Friday regarding franchise player Chris McAlister and veteran defensive end Michael McCrary.

He expects McAlister to sign his one-year tender of $5.962 million, the average of the top five cornerback salaries, before players report to training camp on July 27 in Westminster. Then, negotiations on a long-term deal are expected to commence with the Ravens' top cornerback.

After a deal wasn't reached before March 15, talks with McAlister's agent, Mitch Frankel, were suspended because of a league rule that penalizes clubs with the loss of the right to assign the franchise tag to any player for the entire length of a new deal if a contract was executed between March 15 and July 15.

"Nothing has changed," Newsome said. "We expect Chris to sign the tender and once that tender is signed we will be opening up negotiations with him. He can't come to training camp until he signs."

As for McCrary, an accomplished pass rusher who has suffered significant damage to his knees and ended last season on injured reserve, Newsome said he hopes to have a resolution to this issue by the middle of next week.

Newsome didn't indicate whether that means McCrary will retire, be released, attempt to mount a comeback or become an assistant coach. Those are the most frequently mentioned options for the former Pro Bowler.

"Michael is dealing with some personal issues," Newsome said. "We're not going to push him. He has to come in and see me. Then, we'll do something official."

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