Ravens lock up Brown, cut Anderson

OWINGS MILLS -- As the Baltimore Ravens took a major step toward retaining left guard Jason Brown for next season by faxing him a second-round tender, they ended the tenure of seldom-utilized veteran running back Mike Anderson by terminating his contract.

By assigning Brown the $1.47 million tender Wednesday, the Ravens have the right to match any competing offer sheet or receive a second-round draft pick as compensation.

"We are putting a tender on Jason that will hopefully allow us to keep him for one additional year," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "We will entertain an extension for him at some point later in the year."

Brown has emerged as one of the better young guards in the league. Unless he's signed to a long-term deal, he'll become an unrestricted free agent after the 2008 season.

However, Brown isn't looking to move on. His agent, Harold Lewis, has already begun talking to the Ravens about wanting to negotiate a new contract.

"Jason is not the kind of guy who thinks the grass is greener on the other side," Lewis said. "He's totally content. He and his wife love it in Baltimore. They just had a baby, and now it's time to lock up the future. Jason wants that more than anybody."

Lewis said that he didn't anticipate other teams putting a bid on Brown due to the Ravens' ability to match a contract offer and the value of a second-round pick in a strong draft.

"I think a lot of teams will back off," Lewis said. "You could just be doing the negotiating for the Ravens. With the second-round tender, it's saying, 'The team wants you.' It's like putting a deposit down on Jason, and it gives us some time to work something out with the Ravens. Getting a deal done is all going to depend on their cap situation."

The Ravens' salary-cap outlook improved by cutting Anderson, creating $1.3 million in immediate cap savings.

Anderson never emerged as a force in the Ravens' running game after a solid six seasons with the Denver Broncos.

After rushing for 3,822 yards and 36 touchdowns in Denver, the former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year rushed for just 245 yards and one touchdown in two seasons in Baltimore.

Anderson didn't receive much of a workload with the Ravens, and was eclipsed by Willis McGahee, Jamal Lewis and Musa Smith.

Anderson, who was due a $1.8 million base salary next season, signed a four-year, $8 million contract in 2006 that included a $2 million signing bonus. He was under contract through 2009.

Anderson's exit and Smith's unrestricted free agent status leaves the Ravens with no proven backup on the roster.

P.J. Daniels flashed potential during training camp, but the former fourth-round pick hasn't played in an NFL game and spent last season on injured reserve.

Cory Ross rushed for 72 yards on 12 carries, including a 32-yard touchdown run, against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the season finale. However, he lacks size.

Meanwhile, Newsome disclosed that the team will not keep all of its restricted free agents.

"We're tendering all but one," he said. Newsome declined to specify whether the team was planning to retain backup fullback Justin Green or long snapper Matt Katula.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Green's agent said he hadn't heard from the team yet. Katula's agent didn't return telephone calls.

The Ravens are expected to use the low tender of $927,000 to retain one of those two players.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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