Ravens' Clayton optimistic about catching a deal

OWINGS MILLS – Top draft pick Mark Clayton visited the Baltimore Ravens' training complex Wednesday, and the wide receiver indicated that he's on the verge of changing his unsigned status.

Considerable momentum has been generated in negotiations after Oakland Raiders cornerback Fabian Washington, the No. 23 pick of the first round, agreed to terms on a five-year, $7.8 million contract that includes $5.3 million in guaranteed bonuses.

As the 22nd overall pick, Clayton is slated to receive a slightly richer contract than Washington under the NFL's slotting principle.

"We're getting very close to a deal," Clayton said in a telephone interview. "I'm feeling good about how things are going after talking to my agent. I can't wait to start camp."

Clayton predicted that he would report to training camp on time as players are scheduled to attend a 5 p.m. team meeting Sunday in Westminster. Projected to start opposite veteran Derrick Mason, Clayton emphasized that no deal is imminent and that his agent, Ben Dogra, told him it would likely be a few more days before a contract is finalized.

"That's the plan," said Clayton, who holds the Oklahoma Sooners' career marks for receptions (221), receiving yards (3,241) and touchdown catches (31). "I'm feeling great, and I'm excited about getting things started. The last thing I want is to be a holdout."

One of the Ravens' four remaining unsigned draft picks, Clayton said that he's fully healed from a strained hamstring that severely limited his participation in minicamps.

"I'm feeling great," said Clayton, who rehabilitated the injury in Arizona. "Hopefully, the leg doesn't tighten up on me again."

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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