Ravens' rumor mill going strong

OWINGS MILLS -- The rumor mill is abuzz with Baltimore Ravens news from NFL sources close to the situation. For the latest information, please keep reading.

Here's a look at a few brewing situations:

1. Pro Bowl outside linebacker Adalius Thomas doesn't expect to be assigned the franchise tag, which carries a $7.2 million price tag.

2. It's unlikely he'll be re-signed to a long-term deal, given the Ravens' cap situation of about $3.6 million underneath the cap limit of $109 million, and his high price tag. As Thomas, who returned a fumble 70 yards at the Pro Bowl on Saturday noted, his price just went up even higher.

3. The Ravens will find it difficult to retain Thomas, 29, considering his age (he turns 30 before the season) and that Baltimore wants to keep Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, 24, long-term. Suggs triggered an escalator clause in the final year of his rookie deal with his 40th career sack, raising his 2007 salary to $5 million.

4. The San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns, among others with lots of salary cap room to spend, are expected to heavily pursue Thomas.

5. Player complaints, such as the one from safety Ed Reed to reporters at the Pro Bowl, won't be a pressure factor to management in this negotiation.

6. The Ravens have yet to inform running back Jamal Lewis if they will retain him. He's aware that they won't pay him a $5 million roster bonus due March 3. Free agency begins March 2. Lewis is open to returning, but is aware that he might not be back. If he returns, it will likely be another one-year deal, one with terms less than the $6 million he received in 2006. Lewis' ankle surgery to remove bone spurs was successful and he's progressing well.

7. Offensive tackle Tony Pashos could be expensive, given the free agent market climate. If the Ravens don't sign him before March 2, he probably won't be back because his price from competing clubs will be too high.

8. Offensive guard Keydrick Vincent is healing well from his recent sports hernia surgery and is expected to be in the team's plans and compete for the starting right guard spot again. It's unclear what the team's plans are for Edwin Mulitalo and Mike Flynn, who are also under contract. It's possible that Flynn might have to restructure his deal and return as a backup.

9. The Ravens haven't submitted restricted tenders to free agents like return specialist B.J. Sams, but they are expected to do so.

10. The Ravens' coaching staff remains unchanged, but defensive coordinator Rex Ryan could be in line this offseason for a raise commensurate with being the architect of the NFL's top-ranked defense. Ryan is under contract.


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