Monday morning Ravens' notes

It's the looming question of all questions surrounding the Baltimore Ravens, a franchise-affecting, big-picture decision that doesn't involve Ray Lewis or Jamal Lewis: Who's going to be the quarterback?

Will it be embattled incumbent Kyle Boller after three shaky seasons? Or will the team scrap its multi-million dollar investment in Boller and seek a fresh start with a viable veteran?

Ravens coach Brian Billick cast the die when he wouldn't commit to Boller as the starter in a telling moment overshadowed by owner Steve Bisciotti's candid airing of his desire for Billick to change his ways.

The Ravens appear unlikely to wind up with high-priced, surgically-repaired Drew Brees or expensive, ACL-challenged Daunte Culpepper despite persistent trade rumors, and it looks like Steve McNair will remain in Nashville. That means Kerry Collins may be headed to a potential reunion with Jim Fassel.

Don't rule out Jon Kitna as a strong option. They'll likely pass on erratic Aaron Brooks, and you can forget about Chad Pennington or Patrick Ramsey.

Whichever passer lands in Baltimore, his mission will be clear: Either push Boller to finally prove himself, or onto the bench and ultimately out of town.

NFL, union need to find common ground fast

If the NFL is indeed careening toward a doomsday scenario of a collective bargaining agreement crisis and an uncapped year in 2007 and a possible lockout in 2008, then Gene Upshaw is Dr. Doom.

The NFL Players' Association leader is talking tough, asserting that no peace is imminent as free agency approaches. He's trying to break free from the charge that he's too cozy with commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

Upshaw seems to be itching for a fight, demanding 60 percent of gross revenue and refusing to sign an extension that doesn't have an owners' revenue sharing plan. He's even opposed to the league's ‘G-3' program that loans money to teams to finance stadium construction.

Now, contracts can only be pro-rated over four years and salaries can only increase 30 percent a year. Ouch! Several agents that attended Upshaw's state of the union address Friday told me they believe the Hall of Fame blocker turned union chief is sincere and that financial disaster is on the horizon.

Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens are an estimated $16 million under the projected $93.25 million cap. That's definitely enough to sign a few defensive starters, a running back, a quarterback and probably sign Ed Reed to the richest safety contract ever.

As for the labor dispute, there's no sympathy here for millionaires arguing over money. Strike a deal, stop being so greedy.


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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