Ozzie Would Entertain Webb Extension

After a standout 2011 season, cornerback Lardarius Webb is a hot commodity.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb made himself a Pro Bowl consideration this past season.

He likely made himself a hot commodity too.

With five regular-season interceptions and three more in two playoff games, Webb was one of the AFC’s most dominant cornerbacks.

Now Webb is set to become a restricted free agent entering his fourth season, and could be looking at a longer-term contract, per Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome.

Newsome said Webb’s representatives have not been knocking on the door to get a deal done yet, but it could happen as free agency draws nearer.

“Is that something that we would entertain? Yes,” Newsome said. “I think it would be best for this organization. The sooner you strike, the better deal you can get for yourself.”

The Ravens drafted Webb out of small-school Nicholls State in the third round in 2009. He made so much progress despite converting to cornerback from safety that he became a starter before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament near the end of his rookie season.

Webb returned last season, but didn’t start any games and made two interceptions.

He had a breakout campaign in 2011, putting himself on the radar with a number of highlight-reel plays. He did a standout job against the NFL’s No. 2 wide receiver, New England’s Wes Welker in the AFC championship.

If the Ravens don’t sign Webb to a long-term deal, they would have to protect him from being scooped up by another team as a restricted free agent. That means Baltimore would have to place a high enough tender on him to prevent other teams from wanting to outbid the Ravens and give up the assigned draft pick.

Newsome doesn’t believe that will be an issue, even though the restrictions for free agency are more fluid after the lockout.

“This league covets draft picks,” he said. “And so, in order to go after a restricted guy, No. 1, you have to give a number now that’s something that we won’t match as a team. And then you’ve got to also give up a significant draft choice, because we would put some numbers on there that would make it prohibitive for people.

“When you deal with that double-whammy, even though the rules have been relaxed, you just go, ‘Nah, no, I wouldn’t do it.’ That’s just my philosophy.”

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