The rugged blocker no longer fit into the team's plans because of his uneven
health, status as one of the highest-paid fullbacks in the league along with
offensive coordinator Jim Fassel's preference toward more versatile fullbacks
like Justin Green and the expanding role of H-back Daniel Wilcox.
Perhaps more than any other factors, Ricard's injuries and his one-dimensional game hurt his prospects for remaining in Baltimore. The move was hardly a surprise for Ricard, 29, who had been informed by management about his impending release.
Ricard cleared defenders out of running back Jamal Lewis' path in 2003 when he gained 2,066 yards – the second-most in league history – and was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
Ricard, who was slated to make an $850,000 base salary this season and $1 million apiece in 2007 and 2008, received a $1 million signing bonus in a 2004 contract extension.
However, Ricard was limited to two games last season due to injuries in both calf muscles prior to being placed on injured reserve Oct. 28. The team was unsuccessful in its attempts to trade him after he aggravated the calf injury during minicamps and was unable to participate in team drills.
In 55 career games with Baltimore, Ricard started 30 games after joining the team in 2000 and apprenticing under Sam Gash. Ricard gained 173 career yards, scored two touchdowns and caught 32 passes for 179 yards in five seasons.
On the same day Ricard was officially subtracted from the roster, the Ravens ushered in new additions by agreeing to terms with four draft picks.
Sixth-rounder Derrick Martin, a cornerback who intercepted six career passes and blocked two punts at Wyoming, became the first of the Ravens' 10-player draft class to sign his contract. Like the rest of the rookies, he received a three-year contract with base salaries of $275,000, $360,000 and $445,000.
Martin received a $49,950 signing bonus, according to NFL Players Association figures. The total worth of the contract is approximately $1.12995 million.
Baltimore also agreed to terms with former Georgia Tech running back P. J. Daniels (fourth round, 132nd overall), former Colorado tight end Quinn Sypniewski (fifth round, 166th overall) and former Nebraska punter Sam Koch (sixth round, 203rd overall).
It's believed Daniels' deal included a signing bonus in excess of $310,000, comparable to the deal Dallas Cowboys defensive end Chris Canty signed a year ago as the 132nd overall selection. Daniels was the fourth-leading rusher in Georgia Tech history with 3,340 yards and was twice named All-Atlantic Coast conference.
The 6-foot-6, 270-pound Sypniewski received a signing bonus slightly more than $100,000, according to NFL Players Association figures, which represents an increase over what the player in his slot received last year.
Koch averaged 46.5 yards per punt for the Cornhuskers last season to rank second in the nation. Slated to compete with veteran Leo Araguz, Koch's $1.13 million contract included a $54,490 signing bonus.
The Ravens have six remaining unsigned draft picks, including: first-round defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, second-round offensive lineman Chris Chester, third-round cornerback David Pittman, fourth-round wide receiver Demetrius Williams, fifth-round safety Dawan Landry and seventh-round outside linebacker Ryan LaCasse.
Aaron Wilson writes for Ravens Insider and the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.
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