Club Chat Transcript From 7/30

<p>Our first Club Chat went well. Issues discussed included (naturally) Lewis' and Boulware's contracts, some talk about Redman and his rapport with the receivers, and Kelly Gregg's WWF audition with Mike Collins' head at training camp today. <p>Enjoy!

aaronwilson  Hey Everyone
Sephy  hey aaron
TheFanatic  Howdy Aaron
adminsteve  OK Crow, off you go.
Crowdog89  Hi again Aaron. Thanks for answering my question on the forum. Seems like there has indeed been some movement in the Ray/Pete contact stuff. What can you tell us?
aaronwilson  There has been some talks regarding that issue. Roosevelt Barnes, Lewis' representative, was at the team hotel today to discuss the parameters of a restructured deal for Lewis, which would include an NFL record signing bonus in excess of $21 million.
aaronwilson  Barnes said he would revisit the issue today as he is staying in Westminster, and said he would stay here as long as progress continues to be made. He said he discussed Boulware, too, but they are separate issues, he said, not tied together. Also, the Ravens' negotiator Pat Moriarty seemed to get along well with Barnes, a former NFL linebacker.
TheFanatic  Anybody else somewhat stunned by that number right now?
Sephy  I am
Sephy  Im waiting to see those websites, compare your salary to Ray's like they did for A-rod
aaronwilson  The situation is basically based on agreeing on a structure and mostly on how large a signing bonus for the five-time All-Pro Lewis.
Sephy  Dev, as many times as I see 20-21 million dollars as a BONUS, it floors me
TheFanatic  Yup!!!
Crowdog89  Wow! 21 Mil+ Floored.
aaronwilson  Barnes said he felt there was a pretty good shot that something could be accomplished. The team indicated an obvious interest in Baltimore native Antonio Freeman. Barnes said meeting with the Ravens was his idea. He had lunch with Ozzie Newsome in the team dining room, too.
aaronwilson  Barnes said he doesn't believe representing Sam Adams, Peter Boulware and Ray Lewis is a conflict in interest. He said he was amused by coach Brian Billick's angry remarks about him during the linebackers' unexcused absence from voluntary minicamps, and said he likes Brian. He might have been being sarcastic, though. Hard to tell. He said the words had nothing to do with the slow pace. He said there's no grudges and seems chummy with Moriarty and Newsome, drawing a distinction with Billick, whom he has no relationship with. The dealmakers are talking, which is all the fans should be concerned about. It's progressing, not done yet. 
aaronwilson  Everyone shouldn't wait with bated breath for this deal to be completed. Even when it does get done, or if rather, that doesn't make the Ravens' instant contenders, only a more viable NFL product.
Crowdog89  That's very interesting especially since I had asked you about that last night. Wow, a lot can happen in just a few hours. Thanks again Aaron.
TheFanatic  Mark Viviano from WJZ TV channel 13 said this evening that if Ray Lewis' contract gets done, that the Ravens have ""A List"" of free agents that are waiting, and will sign. How many are on this list, who are they, and any specific order they want them in as far as priority is concerned?
aaronwilson  As for any list of the Ravens, they don't exactly pass out a list of players that they like at the door to the media. It's obvious enough. They like Sam Adams, and Brian Billick said on the record that Antonio Freeman, the wideout and Baltimore native, is on the list. That doesn't mean they would necessarily sign him, only that he's a viable candidate to explore. The television report isn't exactly a big surprise. It's just a repetition of what Billick said in his news conference.
aaronwilson  They have a list. They will look at Sam Adams, Sam Gash and possibly for a right tackle. The tackle will be hard to find, though. That's a dry position on the open market.
Sephy  OK, just looking for an update on Redman's progress. Also, his rapport with the recievers.
Dev21  BTW guys, if/once the Ravens get this deal completed, they would save $3.25 million in cap space.
TheFanatic  3.25 doesn't exactly seem like alot of room to sign multiple players if Adamn leeds the list
Sephy  Adams market value seems to have declined
aaronwilson  Chris Redman gets along very well with this receiving corps. Most of the players either joined the team the same year as him, or got to know him last year or are getting to know him. The players like and respect Chris. He's hard not to get along with. He's an extremely amiable person by nature. He's coming along well on the field, too. It's too early to make any bold pronouncements about his capabilities.
Dev21  Okay, obviously we don't know how this contract will be structured. But assuming that Lewis gets such a big bonus, do you see the Ravens paying him less in base pay to make it more cap accomidating?
aaronwilson  Yes, that would be the Ravens' first inclination. They would want to spread out the salary cap hit as much as possible over a long-term deal. Otherwise, giving him this money, other than rewarding an accomplished player with plenty of prime years left in him, would defeat the purpose of restructuring the deal. Expect the Ravens to lower his base salary considerably and then make most of his salary based on the initial, mega signing bonus. 
TheFanatic  I heard you on WNST the other day commenting about Randy Hymes being someone that stood out at you during practice. I was at camp Friday afternoon and got the same impression as he seemed to be catching everything thrown his way. Is he still turning heads the same way, and do you think he has a legitimate shot at making the roster? As well, my understanding from one of the other posters on the board is that Hymes was a QB at Grambling. If in fact this is/was the case, and Hymes makes the roster, any insight as to whether or not his QBing skills would be utilzed in trick play situations?
aaronwilson  I think Randy Hymes is an intriguing prospect. He was a quarterback at Grambling, has gigantic hands, he can palm a helmet. The Ravens' plan is to audition him strictly at receiver for the time being. Randy is tall, strong and fast with good hands. He's not Randy Moss, though. He has a better chance of making the practice squad than the final 53-man roster.
aaronwilson  I doubt he will be involved in many trick plays. He's going to have to earn his place as a wide receiver.
Dev21  Okay. What do you think is going to happen with McAlister? In my opinion, re-signing him is more of a priority than re-signing Boulware, if Lewis'deal gets done.
aaronwilson  The Ravens are a last-minute operation. Despite all of the preoccupation with these players' contract statuses, the Ravens don't make ultimate decisions on these issues until they absolutely have to. They rarely make preemptive decisions. It's always the 11th hour with them other than extending coach Brian Billick's contract.
aaronwilson  That's the way they choose to do business. They build by consensus and involve everyone in the building in the process. That way no one is slighted.
Dev21  I 'm telling you straight up. If Mac isn't re-signed by March 1, I'm not going to be happy.
TheFanatic  You would think some of this stuff would be discussed well prior so when the opportunity to move happens, they move!!
Sephy  Does the offense plan some changes this year? As in some creativity? Cause it was pretty bland under Cavanaugh in years past. IE: Will Billick take a larger role in the offense?
aaronwilson  As for McAlister, I think they value him highly, but it's not a priority at the moment. McAlister said today that he hasn't heard from the Ravens and isn't concerned about his contract. He wants them to take care of Lewis and Boulware first. Obviously, the cornerback is more valuable than the pass rusher, no matter how good the pass rusher is. Wait on this one for a while because it's not high on the Ravens' priority list. The [msg continues
aaronwilson  y have other business to take care of, like signing rookie Ed Reed, whose agent told me tonight that the ball is in the Ravens' court. Approximately, $165,000 on the signing bonus is keeping this deal from being struck. [msg complete]
aaronwilson  The offense appears exactly the same except for plenty of passes to Chris Redman's security blanket, talented tight end Todd Heap.The offense is prone to dumping the ball off to the backs and throwing short. It's not a well-oiled machine and it doesn't look like running gadget plays will solve the offense's problems. The defense absolutely owned the offense today, especially after nose guard Kelly Gregg beat up offensive guard Mike Collins.
adminsteve  PD Go - sorry guys.
Sephy  Kelly Gregg seems to do a lot of beating up in camp :)
PD101  Is there any notable difference in the offensive line this year (like its less offensive)
aaronwilson  Definitely. The offensive line has been retooled with left guard Edwin Mulitalo moving to right tackle, Casey Rabach taking his place. Other than that, it's still left tackle Jonathan Ogden, center Mike Flynn and right guard Bennie Anderson. Looks like a solid unit except for Edwin's experiment at right tackle. Watch that situation closely.
TheFanatic  How is Gary Baxter progressing at Cornerback? I got serious concerns about him playing CB as I hear numerous reports about him getting burned by our receivers. What scares me is that our receivers really aren't in the class(at least haven't shown it yet) of many of the receivers he will be matched up against in the upcoming season
aaronwilson  Gary Baxter should be fine. He had an excellent practice today. He's a work in progress. Don't judge him until you see how well his bump and run style works in actual games. In these practices, he's not allowed to jam as aggressively as he will in games. He's a physical specimen. He impressed national football writer Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News a lot today, by the way. Gary is a big, strong, fast athlete. His back pedal isn't the smoothest, but he's learning. He'll eventually be a good defensive back, although I think safety is a more comfortable fit for him. If it doesn't work out, Ozzie Newsome told me that he will shift Baxter inside to compete with Anthony Mitchell and start veteran James Trapp outside.
Crowdog89  What is the status/or update news on the severity of Chester Taylors ankle injury? How much time if any will he miss?
aaronwilson  It's not an ankle injury actually. It's a lower-leg bruise, described by the trainer as soft tissue damage. He's on crutches. The trainer said he will miss the next several days. His leg is wrapped up to reduce swelling and he will be listed as day to day soon. It could have been much worse. They X-rayed the fibia and there was no damage. Taylor said he thought he was hurt much worse and was shaken up by the brush with injury.
Dev21  My question is quite simple. By tommorow night, will this deal with Lewis be completed in your opinion, and if so, how long till Boulware will fall in line? Or is Boulware's deal something that the Ravens will table until after the season is over?
aaronwilson  In my opinion, both parties will report continued progress, but no actual deal. Then, it may culminate with Lewis' deal the next day. If it doesn't happen quickly, expect the Ravens to truly table the issue and move on with their season. Everything seems optimistic, but that can change quickly.
aaronwilson  I don't know is the honest answer because I'm not privy to the negotiations. I know mostly what the agent and the team tells me. Right now, that answer is they're not done yet.
TheFanatic  What exactly transpired with Kelly Gregg today? I heard Billick threw Gregg out of practice...True/False..if so, why?
PD101  Travis Taylor any improvment
aaronwilson  Kelly took exception to Mike Collins' tactics, so he took the matter into his own hands after Collins ripped his helmet off his head. Gregg bodyslammed Collins by grabbing his face mask and played basketball with his head on the ground, slamming the back of his helmet into the grass at least four to five times. No big deal, just a practice fight and Kelly Gregg, also known as Buddy Lee, established himself as no one to be trifled with.
Dev21  LOL, did you guys actually see the fight? Gregg could have twisted Collins' neck, possibly getting him hurt pretty badily. Collins is a good prospect to watch out for BTW=
aaronwilson  Hard to tell about Travis. Sometimes, he dominates. Sometimes, he fades from the picture. He's still maddeningly inconsistent.
adminsteve  Muskie
muskie  I am a close friend of Dave Zastudil. I went to OU with him and was wondering how he is fairing so far in camp?
adminsteve  I think we will wrap it up after this one. Aaron is frazzled and is getting beat on by his editor as well as me :)
muskie  He's the real deal. He will be a pro bowler someday baring injury. Hopefully, before his career is finished, he will play for a real team in cleveland!:-)
aaronwilson  Dave hasn't punted in a live situation yet with a punt rush coming at him. He's an excellent prospect who has drawn rave reviews from special teams guru Gary Zauner. He did shank a few today, drawing some boos from the fans attending practice.
muskie  Thats too bad. He wont in game situations though. He's a stud
Dev21  LOL, those were the fans wanting a RT.
adminsteve  Alright guys. That's it. Aaron will give us more time next week but he had a publishing dealine
Crowdog89  Thanks Aaron
aaronwilson  See you next time. Sorry about that.
Dev21  Thanks Aaron.
TheFanatic  Thanks Aaron

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