Ravens miss out on Muhammad

OWINGS MILLS -- Cross another wide receiver off the Baltimore Ravens' list.<br><br> Former Carolina Panthers standout Muhsin Muhammad agreed early Saturday morning to a six-year, $30 million contract with the Chicago Bears that reportedly includes $12 million in guaranteed money.

Underline available wideouts such as Derrick Mason, Plaxico Burress, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and, possibly, Laveranues Coles, as receivers Baltimore will consider obtaining.

For the Ravens, it has been an unproductive period thus far after bowing out of Randy Moss trade discussions earlier this week and seeing Muhammad sign with Chicago days into the annual scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Free agency begins March 2 at midnight, and Baltimore still desperately needs a veteran presence outside after finishing 31st in passing offense and missing the playoffs with a disappointing 9-7 record.

Muhammad caught 93 passes last season and led the league with 1,405 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns as he emerged as the Panthers' primary target once Steve Smith broke his leg.

Baltimore has been mentioned as a potential trading partner with the Washington Redskins for Coles, who is disgruntled with Joe Gibbs' run-first offense. The New York Jets were believed to be the leader for Coles' services, dangling starting receiver Santana Moss in return, but talks have apparently stalled with the Redskins who have salary-cap issues.

Coles might not embrace the Ravens' offense, which is built around running back Jamal Lewis, a former 2,000-yard rusher and NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
Yet, Baltimore sounds determined to upgrade at receiver somehow and is likely to explore all viable options.

"It's not prudent to say who we're talking to about what," Ravens coach Brian Billick told reporters, "but I'd imagine that anyone who has a receiver is going to believe we're a team to contact."

NOTES: Billick acknowledged in a news conference that the Ravens did attempt to trade for Moss. When asked what the Ravens offered, Billick replied: "Obviously, not enough." ... Billick indicated that the Ravens will switch to the 4-3 from the 3-4 as their primary defensive alignment, adding that Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs will be moving back to defensive end.

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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