Ravens agree to terms with four more rookies

OWINGS MILLS -- In a departure from the usual NFL practice of signing multiple rookies on the eve of training camp, the Baltimore Ravens have already agreed to terms with the majority of their draft picks.

After capping negotiations with four draft picks Friday, including second-round offensive lineman Chris Chester and third-round cornerback David Pittman, the Ravens have struck deals with eight of their 10 selections.

With players reporting to training camp Thursday in Westminster, Baltimore has a pair of Oregon rookies without contracts: first-round defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and fourth-round wide receiver Demetrius Williams.

A converted tight end from Oklahoma, Chester agreed to a four-year contract. It's believed that Chester got an increase from the $1.278 million signing bonus of Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams, the player drafted in his slot a year ago. Drafted one pick behind Chester in April, Chicago Bears rookie Devin Hester received a $1.3 million signing bonus.

Regarded as one of the most athletic linemen in team history, Chester covered 40 yards in 4.78 seconds at the scouting combine and is expected to compete for a starting job at either center or right guard.

Pittman, who's projected to be the team's nickel back, got a signing bonus in excess of $490,000 for a deal with a total worth of nearly $1.57 million

Along with safety Dawan Landry (fifth round) and outside linebacker Ryan LaCasse (seventh round), Pittman received minimum base salaries of $275,000, $360,000 and $445,000.

Pittman was the lone Division I-AA defensive back named to the Senior Bowl roster where he impressed scouts. He returned three of his 11 career interceptions for touchdowns at Northwestern State (La.), also running back a blocked field goal for a score and blocking two kicks.

Landry, a 6-foot, 220-pound former Georgia Tech standout who's projected to open training camp atop the depth chart at free safety opposite Ed Reed, received a $129,000 signing bonus and a deal worth $1.209 million. Named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference second-team list last year, Landry registered 250 career tackles.

LaCasse, whose 16 ½ career sacks ranks him 10th all-time at Syracuse, was the only player to formally sign his contract. He's believed to have received a signing bonus slightly more than $43,000.

Meanwhile, no deal is imminent with Williams and negotiations with Ngata aren't expected to accelerate until next week.

Aaron Wilson writes for Ravens Insider and the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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