Ravens involved in Simon trade talks

OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens are involved in trade discussions for Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Corey Simon contingent on negotiating a lucrative, multi-year contract extension with his representatives, according to a published report.

The Ravens, who ranked sixth in the league in total defense last season and already feature perennial All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis and the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in safety Ed Reed, would reportedly exchange either a second-round draft pick this year and a third-round selection next year or a third-round pick this year and a second-round pick next year to obtain the Eagles' franchise player.

Baltimore considered drafting Simon fifth overall in 2000, but opted for running back Jamal Lewis. Philadelphia chose Simon with the next pick.

Both the Ravens and Eagles declined to confirm or deny FOX Sports' Internet report regarding the former Pro Bowl defensive lineman, and Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome offered this neutral comment Monday night: "We're always looking to improve our football team and on a daily basis I have trade discussions with teams frequently."

Reached earlier Monday at NFL meetings in Detroit, Ravens team spokesman Kevin Byrne said: "My reaction is Ozzie is always trying to improve the team, and we don't talk about players on other teams."

Time is apparently an issue in this deal.
The Ravens would need to negotiate a contract extension with Simon, who is due a one-year franchise tender of $5.13 million from the Eagles, over the next few days, according to the report which stated that neither club wants to drag out discussions.

The Eagles already have a league-high 13 draft picks in this month's draft, including five selections in the first three rounds.

The Ravens are likely to switch to a 4-3 set from the 3-4 as their primary defensive alignment and could use a pass-rushing influx.

The defensive line generated 11 sacks last season with only 1 ½ from interior linemen.
Adept at shooting gaps, the 6-foot-2, 293-pound Simon would likely start inside next to blue-collar nose guard Kelly Gregg. The Ravens presently have 6-5, 340-pound tackle Maake Kemoeatu and Dwan Edwards, last year's second-round draft pick, penciled in as starting candidates opposite Gregg.

Simon, 28, was named to the Pro Bowl in 2003 when he registered 7½ sacks. He's tied for second in Eagles history for career sacks by a defensive tackle with 37 1/2.

In 2000, Simon set a Eagles rookie record with 9 ½ sacks.

Simon was a college teammate of Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware, who was in Simon's wedding in 2001 at Disney World.

NOTES: The agent for Ravens free agent defensive end Marques Douglas said his client will visit the San Francisco 49ers today. Niners coach Mike Nolan, the former Ravens defensive coordinator, initiated discussions Sunday. The Cleveland Browns also remain a possibility. ... Former Ravens linebacker Jamie Sharper, released last week by the Houston Texans, is expected to visit the Seattle Seahawks and Cincinnati Bengals this week. The Ravens aren't heavily involved yet, but are likely to monitor the situation.

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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