Ravens terminate Boulware's contract

OWINGS MILLS (AP) – The Baltimore Ravens terminated the contract of injury-plagued former Pro Bowl linebacker Peter Boulware because of salary-cap reasons after drafting pass rusher Dan Cody.

The Ravens were unable to come to an agreement to restructure Boulware's contract after negotiating with his agent, Roosevelt Barnes, ending Boulware's tenure with Baltimore after nine seasons. Boulware's contact carried a $6 million base salary -- the highest on the team -- for the next four seasons. He received a $13.5 million signing bonus in 2002.

Because the Ravens parted ways with Boulware, 30, before June 1, the prorated portion of his 2002 signing bonus – nearly $7.6 million – will count against this year's salary cap. If the Ravens had opted to release Boulware after June 1, then the cap impact would have been divided over the next two fiscal years.

The Ravens drafted Oklahoma defensive end Dan Cody in the second round and project him as a strongside linebacker, where Adalius Thomas started last season and recorded eight sacks. Cody is expected to fill the situational pass rusher role initially forecast for Boulware with Thomas starting.

Boulware missed the entire 2004 season with knee and toe injuries. He hasn't played in a game since late in the 2003 season against the Cleveland Browns, when he injured his knee. He suffered a turf toe during a November practice in 2004, and was placed on injured reserve.

"Due to the play of Adalius Thomas and the drafting of Dan Cody, we decided to terminate Peter Boulware," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. "Peter has been a major contributor to the success of our organization both on and off the field. As others who have departed this year, whether it has been by termination or free agency, we feel that Peter will continue to be a successful player in this league."

A first-round draft pick in 1997, Boulware is a four-time Pro Bowl selection and the franchise's all-time leader with 67 ½ career sacks. The former Florida State standout registered 487 career tackles, 18 pass deflections, 12 forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and one interception.

Boulware is expected to seek a starting job with another NFL team, and has connections with several former Baltimore assistants, including Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio.

Boulware saw action in 111 games with Baltimore, starting 102. He led the AFC and was second in the NFL with a career-high 15 sacks in 2001, when he switched from linebacker to defensive end for the final six games of the season.

Boulware earned the Ed Block Courage Award following the 1999 season, when he played with a shoulder harness to support his dislocated shoulder, and recorded 10 sacks. He was named Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1997 after an 11 ½ sack season.

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

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