Ngata remained in the Baltimore area with relatives in case his deal was
struck and is expected to sign his contract today at McDaniel College prior to
the afternoon practice.
"I'm really relieved that it's done and now I can go out there and play football," Ngata said in a telephone interview. "I couldn't afford to miss too much time because I only had that one rookie minicamp. The Ravens were very fair to me. It's a good deal."
The Ravens and Ngata's agent, Mike McCartney, were haggling over contract length and Ngata preferred a five-year deal. The contract includes no buyback clause, escalators or voidable years for the 12th overall selection.
"It's a great contract for Haloti," said McCartney, who praised Ravens chief negotiator Pat Moriarty "I can't wait to see the impact he has on the team."
Ngata's deal is difficult to compare to the six-year, $23.7 million pact inked by Cleveland Browns rookie linebacker Kamerion Wimbley -- the No. 13 overall pick. Wimbley's deal includes $9.3 million in guaranteed money, a lucrative buyback clause and a voidable year after the fifth season, but Ngata is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent sooner.
Wimbley's deal drew harsh scrutiny in the football industry because his agent, Joe Linta, also represents Browns coach Romeo Crennel.
"We didn't really want to go off Wimbley's deal, which was a bad one and we were waiting for Jay Cutler's contract to get done, which was a good deal," said Ngata, referring to the Denver Broncos' rookie quarterback drafted one spot ahead of him who received a six-year contract with a maximum value of $48 million that included numerous escalator clauses dependent on playing time and performance.
Quarterback deals aren't applicable to comparison because they traditionally receive richer deals than other position players.
Now that the financial business is behind him, Ngata is slated to become an instant starter at defensive tackle for the Ravens.
The consensus All-American and Co-Pac 10 Defensive Player of the Year registered 61 tackles last season, three sacks two blocked kicks and nine tackles for losses. He holds the Ducks' record with seven blocked kicks and often commanded double and triple-team blocking schemes from offensive coordinators.
Ngata, who missed all of the team's full minicamps because of an NFL-NCAA rule that prohibits rookies from attending offseason practices until their college class graduates, said he has been training hard and is in good condition. He appeared to be physically fit and agile at a rookie minicamp this spring.
"Just let him know when he comes in that nothing slows down," said middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who will line up behind Ngata. "He has to pick it up. Hopefully, he's getting in great shape and will be ready when he gets here."
Aaron Wilson writes for Ravens Insider and the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.
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