Boller, Suggs remain unsigned as Johnson signs

OWINGS MILLS - Instead of a resolution to contract talks with their pair of first-round picks, the Baltimore Ravens remain in a holding pattern. There was no progress made with rookie quarterback Kyle Boller, and a holdout situation appears likely. A major difference of opinion on proposed signing bonus and escalator clauses for Boller is stalling negotiations. And discussions for outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, the 10th overall pick, may have just hit a wrinkle.

Sandwiched between contracts for Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams (No. 9) and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant (No. 11), the Suggs' deal could be complicated slightly by the significant increase that Williams received over the ninth pick from last year.

According to published reports, Williams' seven-year contract will likely void after five years and could be worth as much as $12.5 million, including a split signing bonus of $8 million.

The split bonuses are well over the $2.895 million and $3.69 million that lineman John Henderson got from Jacksonville as the ninth pick a year ago. Henderson's five-year deal is worth $10.230 million.

After allowing the clock to expire during trade talks with the Ravens regarding the seventh pick and having to choose Williams two picks later, the Vikings desperately wanted to avoid a repeat of last year's lengthy holdout of first-rounder Bryant McKinnie.

Trufant reportedly received a seven-year deal that can void after five years with split signing bonuses of $3.5 and $4 million and a total worth of $9.4 million to $10.16 million.

A year ago, the Cincinnati Bengals signed offensive tackle Levi Jones to a five-year deal worth $8.475 million with a $4.05 million signing bonus. Haggling over Suggs' contract will be based partly on comparing the other relevant deals.

"We have more information now and, of course, the agent has more information, so those deals being done is a very positive thing for the negotiations," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "We're going to hammer it for the next two days, but I can't sit here and predict what will happen."

Gary Wichard, Suggs' agent, didn't return a telephone call.

Meanwhile, the club agreed in principle Friday to a three-year contract for fourth-round defensive end Jarret Johnson that's worth $1.22 million and includes a $312,000 signing bonus.

"I can't wait to play some football," Johnson said. "I'm ready for camp right now."

The Ravens have three unsigned picks. Newsome and the agent for sixth-round safety Gerome Sapp expressed optimism that a deal is close.

As for Boller, the 19th overall pick whom the Ravens traded next year's first-round choice and this year's second-round pick to New England to draft, Newsome declined to elaborate on the status of those talks.

"We're just negotiating," Newsome said. "We're working very hard to get our two No. 1 picks in."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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