Ravens' coordinator search in flux

OWINGS MILLS -- Now that Ron Turner, one of the Baltimore Ravens' top targets for offensive coordinator, has opted for the same post with the Chicago Bears, the search turns to ... who?

The Ravens are expected to talk to Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Scott Linehan at some point, but he's unavailable under NFL rules as long as the Vikings are in the playoffs. The Ravens have already interviewed New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach Mike Sheppard, Turner and former University of Washington coach Rick Neuheisel.

Ravens coach Brian Billick also discussed the position vacated by Matt Cavanaugh last week with highly regarded USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow, but didn't sound optimistic about landing him.

Billick was in New York over the weekend doing studio work for ABC, and it's believed he'll resume his search today. Billick said last week that he would like to fill the position this week, but acknowledged that the process could be drawn out longer.

The Ravens, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, 49ers and Detroit Lions all have offensive coordinator openings.

Linehan's contract expires Jan. 31, and he reportedly made $300,000 this year, well below the $466,000 average for NFL offensive coordinators. Under NFL rules, the Vikings would be granted an exclusive window to negotiate with Linehan and his agent before other teams could attempt to woo him.

"My contract status is a non-issue," Linehan told Minnesota reporters last week. "I want to finish the job at hand and do a great job in the playoffs."

Saints offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy is another potential free agent.

One major reason Turner, the former University of Illinois head coach, decided to stay in Illinois is because his son is a high school starting quarterback in Champaign. Turner accepted the Bears' reported $500,000 annual offer to do the same job he did under former coach Dave Wannstedt, reducing the Ravens' candidate pool.

Besides Linehan, another name linked to the Ravens in a report out of New Orleans was Kansas City Chiefs offensive line coach Mike Solari.
San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's contract has expired, but he's expected to be retained by head coach Marty Schottenheimer.

Meanwhile, new Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage, the former Ravens' director of player personnel, said he has reassured Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and senior consultant Jim Fassel to not worry about the Browns interviewing other candidates last week. He said he's quite aware of their abilities.

"I know those guys," Savage said of Nolan and Fassel, two veteran coaches who could both emerge as candidates for the San Francisco 49ers' head coaching vacancy.

Ravens offensive line coach Jim Colletto contacted Bears coach Lovie Smith last week about the coordinator job, but never interviewed with Chicago. A report in Sunday's Miami Herald stated that Dolphins offensive coordinator Chris Foerster has been granted permission to interview with the Ravens for an offensive line job. However, Colletto was at the Ravens' training complex Friday and remains on the job.

Foerster and Billick worked together with the Vikings and at Stanford.
Foerster got his start in the NFL as an assistant offensive line coach in Minnesota in 1993. He worked with tight ends in 1994 before being promoted to tight ends/assistant offensive line coach the following year.

Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene declined to comment on Foerster, citing club policy under new coach Nick Saban, who is likely to make significant changes to the Miami staff.

NOTE: Former Ravens starting quarterback Chris Redman has reportedly agreed to a contract for next season with the New England Patriots. He has recovered from surgery to repair a torn labrum.

 

As well as a being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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