Reed now focused on upcoming season

This week, the Ravens reached a contract extension with Ed Reed, making him the highest paid safety in the NFL. Reed signed a seven-year deal worth $40 million, which includes $13 million in bonuses in the first year of the contract.

The NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2004, Reed had one year left on the contract that he signed as a rookie first round pick.

Reed is expected to make more than $6.5 million a season, which is more than Washington Redskins safety Adam Archuleta, who became the highest paid at the position in March when he signed a six-year, $30 million contract that included a $10 million signing bonus.

"He's an emerging leader on our defense and to the whole team for that matter," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "The way he works, the way he prepares speaks volumes to his teammates."

The sides had been stuck in a long stalemate. The Ravens were willing to make Reed the highest-paid safety, but Reed wanted to be the highest-paid defensive player in the league.

If there wasn't a deal by the end of the season, the Ravens were going to use the franchise tag on Reed to keep him off the free-agent market.

During the final two weeks of minicamps, Reed seemed distraught over the negotiations. He rarely practiced -- which coach Brian Billick insisted had nothing to do with the contract talks -- and avoided speaking to the media.

Now, the Ravens expect to have a focused Reed for the upcoming season.

"It's just one of those things removed from his plate," said Newsome. "He was deserving of a new contract, and now he can concentrate on football this season, and for the rest of his career with the Ravens."

The Ravens have a long history of rewarding their emerging stars before their contracts expired.

They reached extensions with offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, linebacker Ray Lewis and tight end Todd Heap, making them the highest-paid players at their position at the time of the signings.

Reed earned that reputation as a playmaker during the 2004 season when Reed led the NFL with a team-record nine interceptions, and broke the league single-season record with 358 interception-return yards, surpassing San Diego's Charlie McNeil's 349 in 1961.

Reed broke another NFL record that year with a 106-yard interception and was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year.

Reed had only 40 tackles last season, 49 fewer than in 2004, but he missed six games because of an ankle injury. But he still was named as a first alternate to the Pro Bowl.

In his four-year career, Reed has 307 tackles and 22 interceptions. He has broken up 61 passes and blocked four punts, three of which he returned for touchdowns.

"Ed is one of the bright young stars in the NFL," Newsome said.

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