Ravens' flirtation with Simon ends

OWINGS MILLS – The Baltimore Ravens' brief flirtation with Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Corey Simon is over and doesn't look like it will be revived.

Trade discussions were aborted when it became clear that Simon's contract demands exceeded the Ravens' budget to possibly acquire the Eagles' franchise player. Simon had previously declined the Eagles' proposal of a five-year, $34 million contract during the 2003 season when he was voted to the Pro Bowl.

After negotiations between the Ravens and Simon's agent, Roosevelt Barnes, hit an impasse, it would require a major reversal by one side to jump-start contract talks.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome declined to elaborate on the situation Tuesday afternoon, but added: "There's nothing going on."

Simon, 28, acknowledged the trade discussions, first reported by Fox Sports' Web site, where Baltimore would have sent a second-round draft pick and a third-round draft pick over the next two drafts to Philadelphia. The Ravens and Eagles didn't confirm or deny trade discussions.

"There is nothing between the Ravens and I at this point in time," Simon told Philadelphia media outlets. "I haven't signed the tender.

"I don't have a contract. Until I do, what happens happens. Right now, I'm still an Eagle. I love playing here."

The Ravens reportedly called the Eagles on Friday to initiate trade discussions contingent on first negotiating a contract extension with Simon. However, Barnes' asking price was apparently far too high for the Ravens.

For now, Simon is slated to play for Philadelphia next season for $5.13 million, the average of the top five defensive tackle salaries.

The Ravens, who are switching from a 3-4 set to a 4-3 defense as their primary alignment, could still obtain a defensive lineman in the draft where they have the No. 22 overall selection of the first round. Defensive tackles Maake Kemoeatu and Dwan Edwards are currently slated to rotate opposite nose guard Kelly Gregg.

Also, the Ravens have other financial considerations.

Besides likely signing unrestricted free agent linebacker T.J. Slaughter to start at weakside linebacker in a 4-3, the Ravens would like to sign running back Jamal Lewis and tight end Todd Heap to contract extensions.

Heap and Lewis are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents after next season. Lewis' agent, Mitch Frankel, said he began preliminary talks with the Ravens about a contract extension last year.

The Ravens spent a combined $17 million in signing bonuses for receiver Derrick Mason and cornerback Samari Rolle, plus an additional $1.25 million signing bonus for offensive guard Keydrick Vincent.

They are still reportedly $7 million underneath the league salary cap limit of $85.5 million.

NOTE: Linebacker Jamie Sharper is unlikely to join the Ravens, who are monitoring his status with slim hope of signing him for a "hometown discount." The former Baltimore and Houston Texans starter is still scheduled to visit the Seattle Seahawks and Cincinnati Bengals this week.

Aaron Wilson is the chief writer for RavensInsider.Com He is also the Ravens' reporter for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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