Ngata happy after inking $11.9M deal

WESTMINSTER -- Baltimore Ravens rookie defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is a newly-minted multi-millionaire after officially signing his five-year $11.9 million contract on Saturday after ending a one-day holdout.

The brief delay seems to have paid off extremely well for the 12th overall pick whose deal has a maximum value of $14 million.

The 6-foot-4, 340-pounder from Oregon received only $25,000 less guaranteed money than the $9.3 million that the player drafted one spot behind him -- Cleveland Browns linebacker Kamerion Wimbley -- received in a six-year deal.

Wimbley's deal has a maximum value of $23.7 million, but it drew harsh scrutiny in NFL circles because his agent also represents Browns coach Romeo Crennel and the contract is perceived to be below market-value by several agents.

Ngata's contract doesn't include voidable years, an escalator or a buyback clause like Wimbley, but he's scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent a year sooner.

The former consensus All-American and Co-Pac 10 Defensive Player of the Year's pact includes incentive clauses and a series of bonuses.

Ngata is slated for a $1.24 million roster bonus in 2006.

In 2007, there's a $6.13 million option bonus.

He can earn a playing time bonus of $1.6 million on a one-time basis if he plays in either 35 percent of the defensive snaps this season or 45 percent in 2007.

Since defensive coordinator Rex Ryan has already anointed Ngata as an instant starter on the interior defensive line next to Kelly Gregg, he's likely to earn that playing-time bonus provided he remains healthy.

"It's a good deal," Ngata said. "The Ravens were very fair to me. I'm just glad it's behind me and now I can go play football."

NOTE: The Ravens are slated for their first contact drills Monday at McDaniel College.

"We have a chance to show up healthy, fresh and ready to start very aggressive and very physical," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.

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

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