Ravens' notebook: Collins in limbo

OWINGS MILLS -- Kerry Collins' departure from the Oakland Raiders isn't completely finalized or assured, and the quarterback's status is in limbo while the NFL labor impasse is still unresolved.

If available, Collins is likely to be one of the Baltimore Ravens' top considerations in free agency as they seek a veteran to compete with incumbent starter Kyle Boller.

Collins wasn't formally cut Sunday night, although the Raiders had his paperwork for release prepared in case they needed to shed $9.2 million worth of salary cap space to get in compliance with the current league limit of $94.5 million. Oakland is $14.8 million over the salary cap and has until Wednesday night to comply or face potential penalties of fines and/or the loss of draft picks.

If a new collective bargaining agreement is brokered, Collins, 33, could possibly be retained if a restructured contract can be agreed upon in the next few days. It's unlikely that Oakland will be able to afford him if no deal is reached and the cap isn't boosted by roughly $10 million.

Collins is under contract with Oakland through 2009 and is due a $6 million base salary this season in addition to a $2.5 million roster bonus.

A former protégé of Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Fassel from their tenure with the New York Giants, Collins has stated he's open to returning to Oakland as long as he remains the starter with a comparable salary to other starters. However, he has made it abundantly clear that he won't be content playing for "peanuts."

In today's NFL, it's highly unlikely that Collins will have to worry about that unless the former Penn State star considers making a few million dollars per season the equivalent of a bunch of airplane snacks.

Meanwhile, the Ravens' potential quarterback pool may also include the Miami Dolphins' Gus Frerotte, Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Brian Griese and the Washington Redskins' Patrick Ramsey.

NOTE: No progress was reported in negotiations with the Ravens' unresticted free agents and no deals are likely to be struck until the exact salary-cap figure is determined by the NFL management council.

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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