No deal yet for Clayton

WESTMINSTER -- The Ravens have not agreed to terms with first-round draft pick Mark Clayton, contrary to a WJFK report. The wide receiver's holdout has lasted three days and he has missed six practices. "It's not true," Clayton's agent, Ben Dogra, said in an e-mail. "There's no deal whatsoever at this point. We are making progress."

Negotiations are ongoing as the two sides attempt to bridge the gap between what Clayton should receive as the No. 22 overall pick.

The players selected above and below Clayton – Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Matt   Jones (No. 21) and Oakland Raiders cornerback Fabian Washington – have both signed. Jones signed a five-year, $8.45 million contract and Washington signed a five-year, $7.8 million contract.

Under the NFL slotting principle, Clayton should receive a five-year, $8.1 million contract.

"For a rookie not to be here under the present circumstances," Ravens coach Brian Billick said, "shows a complete lack of understanding of what it takes to compete in this league."

OFFENSE REBOUNDS: The offense generally improved and looked much sharper following a six-interception debacle on Tuesday.

Quarterback Kyle Boller didn't throw an interception after tossing four the previous day, and he delivered a touchdown pass to Clarence Moore on a fade route.

"The offense clearly had the upper hand," Billick said. "It was good to see, coming back from yesterday when we were clearly not as sharp. The most consistent group so far has been that offensive line."

BOULWARE UPDATE: Strongside linebacker Adalius Thomas endorsed the Ravens' dialogue with four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Peter Boulware even though he has filled Boulware's old position. The Ravens released Boulware this spring as a salary-cap casualty.

The Ravens have contacted Boulware's agent to express interest, but no deal is imminent.

"That's fine with me," Thomas said. "Everyone thinks I have something against Pete. I don't know why, but me and Pete are great friends. He has a great family, very humble guy.

"If he doesn't come here, I hope he gets a contract somewhere else. I don't wish no man harm. If he can come back here and help us out, I'm all for it."

TRAINING ROOM: Tight end Todd Heap (ankle, shoulder), return specialist Derek Abney (ankle), running back Musa Smith (leg), defensive tackle Gary Gibson (foot) and defensive end Patrick Goodpaster (unannounced) all missed practice.

Heap is nearly recovered from a pair of off-season surgeries, and is running fluidly. He's projected to return the week of the Ravens' Aug. 20 preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I know my ankle is going to be able to handle it," Heap said. "I spent a lot of time working on it and doing a lot of running. I know I'll be ready.

"I'm just less further out on my shoulder surgery, so I'm trying to get strength back in it. If I'm ready [Philadelphia], I'll be going. If not, I'll shoot for the next one."

CHANGE OF PLANS: The Ravens changed their minds about moving their afternoon practice to their indoor facility in Owings Mills because the heat wasn't as oppressive as anticipated. The players voted to remain at McDaniel College.

"Once again, we're audibling," Billick said.

PERSONNEL MOVES: The Ravens waived cornerback Cash Mouton and long snapper Drew Caylor with injury settlements.

FREEDOM: Billick began allowing veterans to leave the team hotel and spend the night at home Wednesday evening.

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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