Wright undergoes successful surgery

OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens backup quarterback Anthony Wright underwent successful shoulder surgery Monday to repair his partially torn labrum, but isn't expected to be able to throw a football for four months.

Upon the confirmation of Wright's unavailability for at least the first month of the season and Kerry Collins officially signing a three-year contract with the Oakland Raiders reportedly worth $16 million, the Ravens are continuing talks with unrestricted free agent Kordell Stewart that began last week. 

Ravens coach Brian Billick said he has spoken with Stewart and believes that the mobile former Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears starter could be a good fit as the backup to starter Kyle Boller. Yet, the Ravens are inclined to wait to see what passers become available after June 1, the date on the NFL fiscal calendar when teams release players to save money against the salary cap, before making a commitment.

"We'll have to wait and see what comes out of June 1 because the only one out there definitively right now is Kordell Stewart, who we're very interested in," Billick said of Stewart, who ranked last in the NFL last season with a 56.8 quarterback rating. "We'll probably wait although I wouldn't preclude something before June 1. 

"I talked to Kordell and he's very energetic about what we could represent here. I think it would be a good fit. If it were to come out that way, it would be great."

Before the quarterback pool actually crystallizes, a ripple effect is anticipated.

The St. Louis Rams are expected to release Kurt Warner. He's likely to join the New York Giants, according to agent Mark Bartelstein.

The Raiders are $75,000 underneath the salary cap and are expected to unload Rich Gannon, 38, and his $7 million base salary. Gannon might wind up in Tampa with former Raiders coach Jon Gruden, which could push Buccaneers starter Brad Johnson onto the market. 

Baltimore would likely be extremely interested in Johnson. A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Johnson, 35, played for the Minnesota Vikings when Billick was their offensive coordinator. 

Cleveland Browns quarterback Tim Couch could be released eventually. He's in stalled trade discussions with the Green Bay Packers.

Stewart, 31, could emerge as the Ravens' primary option. He sports a 5-0 mark against the Ravens in Baltimore. 

"He's one of those enigmas where you brand him as a pocket passer and he breaks contain," Ravens quarterbacks and receivers coach David Shaw said. "You brand him as a running quarterback and he can beat you from the pocket. He's a dangerous threat.

"He's coming off not a great time in Chicago, but he's got the tools and I know he'll be in the mix."

Last season, Stewart completed 50.2 percent of his passes for 1,418 yards, seven touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He was sacked 25 times in seven starts.

Shaw still remembers Stewart's Hail Mary pass to Michael Westbrook that led Colorado past Michigan over a decade ago.

"That bomb he threw is burned into my brain," Shaw said. "He can still gun it as well as anybody in the league."

Meanwhile, Wright signed a two-year contract this off-season reportedly worth $3 million that includes a $1.5 million signing bonus after leading Baltimore to an AFC North title. He will likely begin the season on the physically unable to perform list.

"Anthony played us into the playoffs last year," Shaw said. "We won't forget that."

NOTES: The Ravens have signed their restricted free agents to one-year, qualifying offers, including linebacker Ed Hartwell, who received the middle tender of $1.368 million, and fullback Alan Ricard. Ricard received the low tender of $628,000 along with offensive guards Bennie Anderson and Casey Rabach, offensive tackle Damion Cook, long snapper Joe Maese, defensive end Marques Douglas and cornerback Ray Walls. … Team spokesman Chad Steele said the Ravens will hold two additional days of passing camp on June 2 and June 3.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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