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O’s Minor League Rosters are set

Posted on 08 April 2009 by Jason Jubb

The Orioles minor league affiliates have put out there rosters and here are a few things of note:

- I though Chris Tillman could have used a little more seasoning at AA but he is with the AAA Tides. Control seems to be an issue and I fear he may struggle a bit at the start of the season.

- As expected, Brad Bergeson will get the 1st start for the Tides and be their “#1 starter”.

- Jeff Fiorentino is back with the Baysox. He’s no longer a prospect but it’s interesting to see him again.

- Troy Patton starts at AA in order to get an opportunity to pitch. He is probably ready for AAA, but his injury last year and the good problem of too many arms at AAA has forced the move.

- Despite going 12-4 with a 3.58 ERA in 145 IP at Bowie last year, Jason Berken starts back at AA Bowie as well.

- As expected Jake Arrieta will start at AA Bowie. Make it a point to see him there while you can.

- Last years #1 pick Brian Matusz will start at high A Frederick.

- Meanwhile, our #1 from 2006, Billy Rowell will start at Frederick after playing there last year.

- Top prospects from the 2008 draft Jerome Hoes and Xavier Avery will start at low A Delmarva.

Norfolk Tides
http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_ros&cid=568&stn=true&sid=t568

Bowie Baysox
http://www.baysox.com/players/roster/

Frederick Keys
http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/sports/display.htm?StoryID=88652

Delmarva Shorebirds
http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_ros&cid=548&stn=true&sid=t548

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Hard to admit: Maybe Ray was right…

Posted on 01 March 2009 by Drew Forrester

I can’t believe I’m going to say this but maybe, MAYBE, Ray Lewis had it right all along.

During Super Bowl week, Lewis was commenting on his future, his free agency and the issues surrounding his possible return to Baltimore – and he said, “What I’m thinking is nobody’s business.  Where I’m going is nobody’s business.  What I think about the situation is nobody’s business.”

I’ve said from the outset – after hearing him talk with Nestor and I (check out the WNSTv vids for yourself) and watching his interviews on NFL Network – that Ray was going about it all wrong.  Here’s the blog I wrote that covered those “early thoughts” of mine.

I said (and wrote) that stuff because I assumed Ray wanted to curry favor with the hometown faithful and, more importantly, to squarely put the heat on the Ravens in the re-sign Ray episode.

Instead, Ray has created tension with the fanbase and the Ravens are still sitting pretty…or, as pretty as a team can sit after losing out on two of their best three free agents.

So, on the whole, I’m still claiming that Ray went about all of this wrong.

However – and if this looks like I’m defending Ray, I guess I am:

Ray might have actually been right all along.

His situation and the negotiations aren’t “our” business.  Ozzie Newsome utilizes a similar philosophy. When’s the last time Ozzie commented on a specific negotiation while it was ongoing?  Rarely, if ever, will “Oz” make a statement or comment unless he’s just offering a generality like, “we’re in negotiations” or “we always have an interest in signing players who can help our football team.”

Ray should have taken a page out of Ozzie’s book and just not said anything.

Everything he’s said over the month has been scrutinized, poured over and broken down like a CSI show. When he speaks, people say, “Ray should just shut up.”  When he doesn’t speak, people say, “Ray should be going public and defending himself.”  When he finally steps forward and elaborates on the issues surrounding his contract situation, folks respond with: “Now he’s just trying to cover his tracks.”

The guy can’t win no matter what he says – or doesn’t say.

I said from the beginning Ray was doing it wrong by not speaking out.  Ray claimed it wasn’t anyone’s business what he was thinking — therefore, saying nothing was, essentially, an indication he was adhering to that philosophy.

It’s just a shame he didn’t follow that philosophy, I guess.

It really ISN’T anyone’s business what Ray Lewis is thinking.  He’s done more than enough to justify his career in Charm City.  He owes nothing to no one.  Likewise, the team – although they’d be better off keeping him than letting him get away – doesn’t really owe him anything either.  They’ve both done right by one another.

It really ISN’T anyone’s business if Ray Lewis wants to pull the curtains on his career in Baltimore and escape for a 3-year bank heist with the (insert team here).  As we just saw with Bart Scott and Jason Brown, you can’t pay the BGE bill with good looks.  They both bolted for a better life and they’re not getting a lot of grief for doing so.  Nor should they.

And, finally, while Ray’s legacy in Baltimore might be important to US – or the team – it just might not be that important to Ray.  In 52′s mind, maybe this has been nothing more than a 13-year vacation of sorts. As all of us know, no matter how much fun you have on vacation, they all come to an end.  Perhaps it was always Ray’s intention to play in the NFL and then retire in Somewhereville, Florida, basking in the glow of the warm sun AND a Hall of Fame football career for the second half of his life.

The first-half chapter, though, looks like it’s going to take an ugly turn in Baltimore no matter what happens with Ray’s contract.  If he signs in Baltimore, the faithful will criticize the Ravens for “caving in”.  If he goes elsewhere, the faithful will whisk him out the same way they did with Eddie Murray some 20-odd years ago…with little regard for what he did and a bunch of broom marks on his rear end.

Far be it for a guy in the media who NEEDS athletes to talk to admit it might have been better if the athlete didn’t speak, but Ray might have been right.

He probably shouldn’t have said a word.

To anyone.

He probably shouldn’t have talked to Deion and Jamie Dukes on the NFL Network.

He probably shouldn’t have talked to WNST.

He DEFINITELY shouldn’t have talked to DeMarcus Ware, if he did.

Who knows if he did?  Why should we believe DeMarcus Ware?  I don’t know him from Adam.

For all we know, Ray Lewis never had a conversation with DeMarcus Ware.

Or, they might have had dinner in Dallas last summer.

Who knows?

Because Ray has a history of being evasive, particularly when things AREN’T going well, it’s tough to gauge the validity of ANY story that comes out about him.

Sometimes, it’s even tough to believe Ray when he DOES author the quote or story.

Did Ray really tell “a friend” he was DONE in Baltimore?  Was that friend Rod Woodson? Or Deion Sanders?

Who knows – and – who knows…?

It’s been one snafu after another in this “campaign” that’s been produced and directed by Ray Lewis.

His agent, or the person responsible for guiding him along in this process, should give back his paycheck on this one.

And Ray, for all the mistakes he’s made over the last month, probably had it right from the very beginning.

He would have been FAR, FAR better to just maintain that “it’s nobody’s business” line all the way through.

He should have said that to Deion, Rod, Jamie, DeMarcus and anyone else who asked him the big question.

“It’s none of your business.”

When you can’t figure out how to say it the right way, I think that’s the best way to avoid having to talk about it.

In Ray’s case, hindsight being what it is, he would have been better off not talking about it at all.

The fans wouldn’t have understood, but they’re not understanding THIS approach by Ray, either.

Neither are the Ravens, I assume.

No one is, in fact.

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Jason Brown will be a big loss in the middle for the Ravens

Posted on 28 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The economic reality of the NFL comes to us every March when players we like, players we know are quality performers and citizens, wind up in different jerseys due solely to the salary cap and the league’s ability and desire to disperse its talent equality. (Or at least that’s the goal!)

So, late last night (you might’ve received the WNST Text just before 11 p.m.), the Ravens lost another one of their “good” guys in center Jason Brown, who just got overwhelmed with an enormous offer by the St. Louis Rams. Brown, like his wealthy counterpart free agent Bart Scott, was one of the standup guys in the locker room, a movie buff in his spare time and a joy to be around and chat with. He always kept a photo of a brother he lost to the war in the Middle East in his locker.

The Ravens will hope that Chris Chester continues his emergence as a starter on the offensive line and would also consider Marshal Yanda in the mix in the middle. No doubt they’ll use a draft pick or two on the O line.

It sure doesn’t help with stability — and let’s be honest, the Ravens offensive line was a major reason for Joe Flacco’s emergence — but business is business in the NFL. The Rams had the money. The Rams had the need. The Rams were willing, if not obligated, to overspend in this case to lure a quality player and person in the prime of his career to a moribund franchise that is in the midst of a massive, long-term overhaul to escape the cellar of the NFL.

Who knows? Maybe in three years Jason Brown will be in the Super Bowl with the Rams? Change happens quickly in the NFL.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch’s venerable Jim Thomas wrote this about the pursuit of Jason Brown.

Our old friend from The News American and Baltimore’s own Bernie Miklasz chronicles the many misfortunes of the Rams here…

It’s good reading.

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Ward Cleaver would have moved to New York too

Posted on 28 February 2009 by Drew Forrester

Welcome to life in the NFL. 

Or, as one Ravens associate said to me on Friday, “Welcome to the traveling circus.”

On day one of free agency, players scooted around the country like an author on a book signing tour.

There was action just about everywhere:  Tampa Bay.  Baltimore.  New York.  Denver.  St. Louis.  

Do you know what it all means?  Football players just want to play football.  The color of the jersey only matters to the fans.  Purple looks a lot like green.  Or Red.  Different helmets?  Yes.  Football the same size?  Yes.  

As I get older – and maybe (some might argue differently), a little wiser – I’m starting to see this whole thing for what it really is to the players:  A job.

It’s a JOB “playing” football.  But, it’s a job.  It was a JOB to Jason Brown yesterday.  It was a JOB to Bart Scott yesterday.  It was a JOB to Kellen Winslow, Jr.  He just happened to get transferred to a new home office, that’s all.

I don’t begrudge Ray Lewis for treating like it a “job” anymore than I didn’t hold it against Mike Mussina when he opted out of the baseball-hell-hole-that-was-going-to-be-Baltimore and took more money to “transfer” to New York.  

I DO begrudge Ray for not saying the right things last month…for not, at least, humoring us with at least one, “of course I want to finish my career in Baltimore…” line.  But that has nothing to do with Ray’s desire to be treated fairly by his employer.  Don’t we all expect the same thing from OUR boss?

In the end, though, what Bart Scott did yesterday is the same thing Ward Cleaver would have done in 1960 had some other vacuum sales company offered him $11,000 – a $2,400 raise – to move Beaver and Wally and June 1,500 miles across country.  

You can beat up Ozzie Newsome all you want and say he’s having “an off-year” (as some are saying) and you can chastise the players for being money-grubbing skunks (as some are saying) and you can play armchair GM and say, “I wouldn’t give these guys that kind of money” (and your team wouldn’t win any games).

In the end, there’s a $127 million limit on player salaries and your role, as the guy running the team, is to fit 53 players into $127 million.  There’s no rule – and no WAY – that says you have to fit 53 REALLY GOOD players into $127 million.  53 into $127 million.  

That means, occasionally, some guys who used to be a good fit in your 53/127 formula are no longer comfortably wedged in there when they want (and, perhaps, deserve) the Ward Cleaver pay raise.  

It’s life in the NFL.

We can all get worked up about it, but it’s just reality.  

The fan’s option, of course, is to not buy the tickets anymore.

If you’re that distressed about it, sell your seats and do something else on Sunday afternoons.

If you understand, though, that it’s just a JOB to these guys, you’ll be able to deal with it much better, I think.

I’m getting older and wiser.  I don’t like the “older” part.  I can handle “the wiser”, though.

Bart Scott was transferred to a new branch yesterday.

So was Jason Brown.

And, fortunately for us in Baltimore, Domonique Foxworth took a better job on Friday as well.

If those three were vacuum sales professionals, they would have done the same thing they did yesterday.

They would have moved on to a better life.

Ward Cleaver would have done it too.

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Strange daze for Ray Lewis and the Ravens

Posted on 28 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

I’ve had the rare good fortune that most of you haven’t had over the past six weeks. Sometimes it kinda gets lost on me that as a media member for 25 years here in Baltimore, I get to do what every PSL owner and fan would love to do: actually sit with Steve Bisciotti and Ray Lewis and ask them questions.

In one eight day span last month, I got to sit with Bisciotti in Owings Mills (on video here) and with Ray Lewis in Tampa (one of four videos here) and ask them the exact same question: “Do you think this contract thing could get awkward for you?”

Both of them sort of skirted the question. You can see their exact answers for yourself with a click so there’s no need for me to transcribe here. The bottom line is this: I think six weeks later it’s a pretty fair question and I give myself bonus journalism points for asking the question of both men. I really don’t know if anyone had mentally taken the “free agency” train into the reality of yesterday’s situation and lo and behold, yesterday, the day of reckoning arrived and it wasn’t pretty and still stands to potentially get uglier.

It is the strangest of strange days for the organization, for Ray Lewis and most certainly for the fans who just want to know what’s going on. From WNST.net to AM 1570 to all of our Facebook accounts, Baltimore was abuzz with “Raymania” all day Friday.

Is he staying? Is he going? Will it be the Cowboys? Or the Broncos? Or the Jets? Or some darkhorse team we didn’t know was in the mix? Plenty of other players were on private lear jets and commercial flights and the NFL free agency media web mania began in earnest just after midnight. Hell, I got a text message from Peter King about Bart Scott at 2:15 AM! (No, I’m not kidding!) For the record, Peter King gave me the Namath guarantee at 8:15 a.m. this morning that Bart Scott would be a New York Jet by the end of the day. (I have no idea when the man sleeps but I love him!)

But as Jason Brown was running off to sign a $37.5 million deal with the lowly St. Louis Rams (so long JB…we’ll miss ya, man!) and Bart Scott was trying on a green cap and bringing Hot Sauce to the Big Apple, Ray Lewis was sitting at home in Florida trying to do damage control. And as we all know, public relations isn’t No. 52′s strong suit.

Let’s count the stories, tales and tacky details of this messy – and yes ‘AWKWARD’ – negotiation.

It started right after the Steelers beat the Ravens in Pittsburgh. Ray Lewis ducked the media and all questions about his future. Fair enough. Ten days later he sat on our set at Radio Row in Tampa for 15 minutes (his first interview with me since 1999) and talked a LOT about God deciding his fate. He told Anita Marks even less than that and she asked softballs as usual so nothing came from that “public appearance.”

About five days later in preparation for the Pro Bowl, he was canoodling with Jamie Dukes in a “shoot” interview on the sands of Hawaii. He openly and happily broached the possibilities of becoming a New York Jet and/or a Dallas Cowboy. Fans here in Baltimore bristled more than a little. Word is strong that Steve Bisciotti bristled as well (I have no confirmation on that one, just the same rumors you’ve heard!) He decided to pass on an in-game field interview with Andrea Kramer of NBC during the Pro Bowl, eliminating the possibility of putting his foot in his mouth.

And so for nearly a month, we’ve fielded call after call, read words upon words about what the outcome of “Ray-Gate” would be in 2009. Would No. 52 be a “Raven for life” or would he take the autumn of his Hall of Fame career elsewhere for a larger payday?

Many observations exist:

Ray has closed his Canton BBQ restaurant and is ready to move on…

Ray is perturbed that the Ravens have only offered him $12 million in guaranteed money…

Ray told Demarcus Ware he wants to be a Dallas Cowboy…

Ray (heart) Rex Ryan…

Blah, blah, blah. It was all “talk is cheap” kinda stuff in anticipation of Black Friday, the day Ray Lewis would head for greener pastures (and maybe not even the Jets?)

And when yesterday finally came, when the time came for the owners to open their pocketbooks via their GM’s and personnel folks and everyone from Albert Haynesworth to Bart Scott to Jason Brown to Ryan Fitzpatrick was jetting off somewhere to have a press conference and some free appetizers, future Hall of Famer and Baltimore legend Ray Lewis was sitting at home in Florida waiting for the phone call from the second wife that never came. Like Matt Leinart and Brady Quinn in the greenroom in New York on the third Saturday of April, he paced the cage waiting for someone other than Ozzie Newsome to show up with a Brink’s truck.

And, worst of all, NFL.com’s very respected Adam Schefter reported a source close to Ray Lewis (clearly believed to be Rod Woodson or Deion Sanders, since they are co-workers of Schefter and co-friends on No. 52’s speed dial) as saying Ray was “done” with the Ravens and offended beyond repair. That report surfaced around 9 a.m. By 4 p.m. and with seven solid hours of silence and a major disturbance from the fan base here in Baltimore, apparently Lewis had heard enough and called Woodson in Los Angeles to retract, run away from or disassociate himself with anything regarding purple potty talk and Jerry Jones. Of course, we’d love to know who or what entity is giving Ray Lewis this “advice” on public relations and skilled negotiation since his real agent David Dunn is in the NFL’s pokey for being a lousy agent.

Which brings us to today, Day Two of free agency: what does this mean for Ray Lewis and Ravens?

Well, if Ozzie Newsome were being honest – really honest – he’d probably tell you that he would’ve predicted this all along. That Ray Lewis would be sitting by the phone and it wouldn’t be ringing because his offer was always going to be the best offer. He’d probably come completely clean and say in his Southern drawl, “I had it all sized up from the beginning. I gave him what he’s worth, maybe even more than he’s worth to any other team. He’ll be a Raven because we want him the most and we’ll pay him the most. But he might have to sit at home by the phone and find that out on his own.”

I had several league insiders tell me that Ray Lewis was going to get his feelings hurt yesterday and they were right.

Of course, Newsome will never say that. But I will. Newsome has said publicly that it would only take one team, one major offer to Ray Lewis to change the game and the course. It was never even intimated that Newsome would move off of his “number” for Ray Lewis. You know the Newsome credo: right player, right price. And everyone from Steve Bisciotti down said that the owner would stay out of this negotiation.

The Ravens are reportedly offering Ray Lewis – a 34-year old aging superstar on a team that was four minutes away from the Super Bowl – about $17 million in guaranteed fresh money for the autumn of his career and some sort of “implied” final contract to make him a “Raven for life.” He’ll be lauded and feted into perpetuity here in Baltimore as a legend. Bob Haynie, Drew Forrester and I had the debate last week at Sullivan’s Steakhouse about whether No. 52 is on the Baltimore “Mount Rushmore.”

Now, the question remains: Will he take the Ravens deal?

Or are his feelings really hurt? Did he really want the Cowboys to call? Was all of this about getting leverage to push the negotiation with the Ravens, who’ve never wavered from the fact that they want Ray Lewis forever? Or was his “mystery” NFL Network friend telling the truth, that Ray Lewis is less than thrilled about continuing his career in Baltimore?

Who knows if we’ll ever know?

But you have to believe that we’re now past the point where his phone will be ringing with a higher offer later in the weekend from Jerry Jones or Pat Bowlen. If a team was serious about Ray Lewis, wouldn’t they have called already? And wouldn’t he be gone already?

We know one thing: Daniel Snyder didn’t want him to be a Redskin!

Strange daze indeed.

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Let the NFL Free Agency games begin!

Posted on 27 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

This morning if you awoke to read any website with NFL-related headlines, it appears that the world is upside down and the apocolypse is near. Albert Haynesworth found a cash-rich suitor in Daniel Snyder down in D.C. (yes, he’s at it again!) Linebacker Bart Scott is off to see Rex Ryan and potentially get overwhelmed with a generous offer by the New York Jets. Peter King of SI.com is reporting that No. 57 will get $8 million per year in a deal that could be five or six years in length. Jason Brown and his agent released the “news” that the Ravens aren’t interested in him anymore, when the truth is that they were never “not interested” in the free agent center/guard. In fact, they made him a multi-million dollar offer. Brown will apparently be in St. Louis today.

It all makes good radio and good web rumorama. But the truth is that this free agent game hasn’t changed so much over the years. It’s just that the Ravens and several of their key players are involved in the fray in a major way this weekend and this year. Let’s be honest: today is the first day that Ozzie Newsome and the franchise have ever had to ponder “life without Ray.” The fact that by dinner time today the team might be without Ray Lewis, Bart Scott and Jason Brown is a bit disconcerting but Newsome has had more than a month to ponder the Ravens’ “cap number” as to the value of each of their star players. Keep in mind, it’s all a negotiation and Newsome has never been one to jump at ghosts or ghastly signing bonuses.

“Right player, right price” has always been Newsome’s mantra. Newsome did his homework and offered all three of them deals that he felt the Ravens could afford.

Baltimore fans might scream bloody murder if the trio are all gone by nightfall, but rest assured the money saved will be spent elsewhere in the market by Newsome. The extra $4 million in cap money might have a slight effect on the entire market, but today is the day for the aforementioned players to see if the rest of the NFL thinks they are more valuable than the Ravens do.

It seems that Bart Scott will be a N.Y. Jet by the end of the day.

It also seems that Jason Brown will be backing up a Brink’s truck in St. Louis.

All has been quite quiet so far this morning on the Ray Lewis front, but we all know that Dallas and the Jets will both be a factor, as will dark horse Denver.

I’m on the air at 2 p.m. By then, some of this stuff will begin to shake out. It’s an exciting day and it will probably feel like a “loss” day for any Ravens fan. Losing your core guys to free agency is never fun or exciting but the reality of life in the NFL salary cap system. It could be a painful day, but Newsome and the organization have been prepared all along to potentially lose these guys to other teams.

The team made its statement last week when it franchised Terrell Suggs. Let’s see where the money is and where it goes this weekend.

If you want to be first in the loop with any of the signings, updates or news, please join the WNST Text Service here.

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Don’t believe what you read: The Ravens DO want Jason Brown…still.

Posted on 27 February 2009 by Drew Forrester

As soon as I heard the “we don’t have plans for Jason Brown” quote yesterday, I scratched my head and thought to myself, “why would Ozzie tell Jason Brown’s agent something like that?”

Answer:  He didn’t.

I suspected such…and then contacted a couple of Ravens sources on Thursday and both of them echoed the same thought.  “Why would Ozzie tell Jason Brown he doesn’t fit into our plans when we’ve been telling him all along that we want him back in Baltimore?”

That’s how I looked at it too.

Why, on the eve of free agency, would the Ravens aggravate Brown and his agent by telling them, essentially, “we’ve been fibbing to you for the last month and not negotiating in good faith with you.” (???)

It didn’t make sense yesterday and it doesn’t make sense today.

I’m not sure what Brown’s agent THOUGHT he heard from Ozzie and I’m not sure what he then translated to Jason thereafter, but I’m hearing from a source that it went something like this:

Ozzie (on Wednesday): “That’s our offer.  If you want to make it happen at those numbers, we can get this done now.  If you’re not willing to move off of your figure, you should probably just go ahead and test the market on Friday.”

That does NOT mean “you’re not in our plans”. 

It means, “We can’t agree on a contract right now and we’ll just agree on that…and you can go ahead and test the market on Friday.  If you get an offer from another team and would like to bring it back to us, we’ll gladly look at it.  If you get an offer from another team and you want to sign it, we understand and we’ll miss you.”

That’s business in the NFL.

Jason Brown might very well sign somewhere else today.  I almost expect it.

But, when he does, it will be because he got a better deal somewhere else.

The Ravens still want him as part of their franchise.

At their price.

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Ray-Week, Day 3 – “Money too tight to mention?”

Posted on 25 February 2009 by Drew Forrester

Hang in there gang, we’re almost to Friday.

That’s when the fireworks REALLY begin.

Beginning this Friday, if Ray Lewis really does reach 12:01am without a signed contract in Baltimore, he’ll hit free agency for the first time in his career.

I assume, by the time I make it to the air at 6:07 for a Friday morning edition of the wildly popular “Comcast Morning Show”, Ray will already be in the news somehow, someway.  Even if no team makes him a bonafide offer in the wee hours of the morning, I’m quite certain someone from his camp will float one out there.

Yesterday, reports circulated that Ray was offered a significant amount of money from the Ravens on Tuesday.  

The only issue with that?  The Ravens might not have “significant money” available to them at this point. 

Why let that important fact get in the way, though, right?

Last August when the Ravens rebuffed Ray’s counter-offer of $20 million, they might have known then that they’d be tight-against-the-cap in February/March of 2009.  

They’re not able to be free spenders this off-season.  They’ve already shelled out $10,170,000 to Terrell Suggs.  They’ve handed over a little more than $1.5 million to defensive lineman Brandon McKinney and a million bucks to Dwan Edwards for 2009.

The Ravens have roughly $123 million to play with (cap-wise) in 2009.  Right now, they’re closing in on $113 million, by my estimation, give a million or so either way.  

If, in fact, they’re $10 million to the good under the cap, what do they do with it?

I know what they CAN’T do with $10 million.  Sign Ray, Bart, Jason and Jim.  In fact, with $10 million, it’s likely they can’t even sign TWO of those guys, unless it’s Leonhard and Brown, the most likely combination that could be pulled for $10 million in cap expense for 2009.

OK, then, who goes in order to make more room under the cap, if that’s even necessary?

And, remember, you can’t be over the salary cap after this Friday at 12:00 am.  In other words, by Thursday at 11:59pm, you need to be under the cap and STAY under the cap throughout 2009.  

So, between now and Friday, the Ravens would have to part company with some significant players – and salaries – in order to fit a few of the “most-wanted” into the 2009 scheme.

Who goes, then?

Trevor Pryce ($1.75 million saved if released before 6/1)?  Samari Rolle ($4.1 million)?  Is it right to release Kelly Gregg after he spent ’08 on the injured list ($1.1 million)?  Frank Walker ($1.6 million) could be expendable but with CMac’s departure, every veteran defensive back could be valuable in ’09.

That eight million sure would help.

Where’s the defensive end pass rush going to come from in ’09?  There’s no Trevor Pryce waiting in the wings, with all due respect to Marques Douglas.

And, with the departure of Chris McAlister, the Ravens are already somewhat hamstrung experience-wise in the defensive backfield.  Losing Rolle wouldn’t HELP the situation back there, that’s for sure.

But, that $8 million would sure help.  

Or, do the Ravens just go ahead and sign Jason Brown, and Jim Leonhard and squeeze the two signings into the roughly-$10 million they have to left to play with?  They could probably get Brown for a $7 million signing bonus over four years and another $2.5 million per-year…and Leonhard would cost them roughly $1.5 million a year for three years.  In other words, they could sneak those two in for ’09 and fit them under the $10 million they have left.  Keep in mind, too, my numbers are more rounded off than they probably should be…the Ravens might be working with $8,882,019 dollars for all I know. In other words, every dollar counts.  

By the way, the Ravens need $5 million or so to sign their draft picks.  Anyone know how they’re going to do that?  Yeah, me neither.

Keep in mind, the Ravens haven’t even perused the free agent list yet to see who might be available on Friday morning.  And they have their own contributors hanging out there as well:  Matt Stover is wondering if he’s coming back – and getting paid.  Same for Dan Wilcox.  And Kyle Boller.  Let’s take a truth-pill here.  As hard as it is to swallow, if there’s no money for Jason Brown and Bart Scott (not to mention Ray Lewis), there’s certainly no money for Stover, Wilcox and Boller.    

It’s all coming clear now:  Unless Ozzie and DeCosta make some dramatic moves over the next 72 hours, they aren’t going to have enough money for their own players, let alone guys parading around the league for a new deal.  

I’m glad I’m not making the decision(s).

And, it’s not Fantasy Football either.

Most fans just say, “Give Ray and Bart the money and get it over with already, would ya?”

It’s just not that easy.

Sports is weird.  

The Orioles have gobs of money to spend and don’t want to spend it.

The Ravens would love to have an unlimited amount to spend, but they can’t.

It sure is fun to talk about, though.

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More national media pile on Gary Williams

Posted on 11 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The story about Kendall Marshall is now a few days old but it’s making the email rounds so I thought I’d pass it along for your Terps reading. Penned by Jason King of Yahoo! Sports, this is an interesting read from an interesting perspective. Most of Gary Williams’ critics would say it’s a recruiting issue, the team’s demise from the elite of the ACC and the absence from March Madness annually.

I’m just passing it along.

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A Closer Look at the Greyhounds Weekend Road Trip

Posted on 30 January 2009 by Chris Bonetti

The Loyola Greyhounds (10-12, 5-5) are winners of 5 straight and head into MAAC play this weekend back at .500 in league competition for the first time this season.  Tonight they will be in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, as they will take on Rider before heading a little further north to play Fairfield at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport on Sunday at 2pm.

Tonight’s game at Rider will tip at 9pm and will be aired on national TV on ESPNU.  If you don’t receive that channel in your home, fear not Greyhounds fans… you can listen to my personal play-by-play broadcast on loyolagreyhounds.com.

This mid-season rally has thrown Loyola right in the middle of the mix for a top seed in the MAAC Tournament.  Siena is 11-0 and is beginning to run away from the pack, but the Greyhounds (5-5), Rider (6-3), Niagara (6-3), Fairfield (5-5), and Manhattan (5-5) are all within one victory and will be battling each other from now until March for postseason positions.

So obviously Loyola’s pair of games this weekend is tremendously important.  They have to be able to keep the ball rolling and the momentum moving in the right direction.

The key to their recent success has been because of the new rotation that the team seems to be settling into.  The new looked has point guard Brian Rudolph and Barney in the backcourt with Brad Farrell, Isaac Reid, and Jawaan Wright up front.  Brett Harvey, Marquis Sullivan, and Anthony Winbush fill out the 8-man rotation.  This has been the combination for the last 4 games, all wins.  Once players can recognize their roles they can begin to fill them with their unique and specific attributes.

In case you missed it… Coach Jimmy Patsos was a guest of WNST’s midday host Bob Haynie Wednesday afternoon.  The interview can be heard in its entirety in the audio vault on WNST.net at any time.

Some of the major points of interest from the conversation…

-    Coach P. made a very interesting comparison.  He said that he thought Jamal Barney, Loyola’s leading scorer at nearly 19ppg, reminds him of an old ABA scorer.  I have always said Barney is the quickest jumper I’ve ever seen, he’s second on the team in rebounding at almost 6 per game.
-    Shane Walker is expected to help Loyola “take the next step” next season.  The Coach said that the 6’10 transfer from Maryland has been practicing very well and has been using us game days, where he cannot participate due to NCAA Residency Rules, to bulk up.  Patsos says Walker has added nearly 15lbs since coming to Loyola.  It sounds like he is already very competent on the boards and on the defensive side of the ball, but that his offense still needs development.  Coach P. also mentioned that he’s got some Jason Thompson ability in him, but added that he thinks Walker is a better athlete and faster up and down the floor
-    Coach Patsos acknowledged that this season’s non-conference schedule may have been a little ambitious, but that next year the team will take a trip to Bloomington, IN to take on the Hoosiers.  Baltimore rivals Coppin State and Morgan State will also be on the schedule.  As for the ’10-’11 season, there is the good possibility of seeing Loyola head out west to visit UCLA and/or USC.
-    And lastly, pretty funny to hear Coach Patsos discuss the expectations of ballplayers at schools with academic integrity, like Loyola and Maryland.  He mentioned that student-athletes at these schools are held to a high level, and that at other schools in the MAAC are way more lenient towards misbehavior.  He specifically mentioned how someone might have been kicked off the Greyhound roster, but at another school that player would receive a 1 game suspension and then score 35 the next night… ZING NIAGARA and Joe Mihalich.  Former all-league Purple Eagle forward Charron Fisher was involved in a major on-campus fist fight/brawl and was allowed to return to the team after a slap on the wrist last season.

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