Ravens Negotiating With Webb, Williams

The Ravens are trying to work out long-term deals with CBs Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Categories: 2012 Offseason, Garrett Downing

Most of the talk around the Ravens this offseason has been about the team trying to lock up Joe Flacco and Ray Rice to long-term contracts.

Turns out, the Ravens are also in contract negotiations with two of their budding defensive stars, cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams.

“We are involved in negotiations with both,” General Manager Ozzie Newsome said Wednesday at the team’s pre-draft press conference. “What the status is, I don’t know.”

The Ravens starting cornerbacks are both heading into the final season of their four-year rookie contracts and are restricted free agents.

Baltimore protected Webb with a first-round tender and used a second-round tender on Williams. The first-round tender guarantees Webb a $2.74 million contract for next season and the second-round tender pays Williams $1.93 million.

The two cornerbacks are both young, emerging talents on the Ravens defense.

“Our restricted guys are guys that we would like to extend to longer term deals,” Newsome said.

In their first season as full-time starters, both corners helped the Ravens become the fourth best team in the NFL against the pass (196.3 yards per game).

Webb led the team with five interceptions and 20 passes defended and also had 68 tackles. He added three more interceptions in the playoffs and proved to be a valuable punt returner throughout the year.

Webb’s play earned him Pro Bowl consideration and his performance in the playoffs continued to elevate his profile.

Williams was quieter, as he didn’t have any interceptions, but finished the year with 77 tackles and 18 passes defended. The former seventh-round draft pick won the starting job after an impressive training camp and went on to start every game of the season.

Williams also played hurt for part of the year, as he had a procedure on his hip to repair a torn labrum after the season ended. Some pundits have speculated that second-year corner and last year’s first-round draft pick Jimmy Smith could challenge Williams for his starting role.

Any team interested in trying to sign Webb or Williams away from Baltimore would have to give a corresponding draft pick to their tender and make an offer that the Ravens wouldn’t match. The other 31 NFL teams have until April 21 to make an offer to the Ravens’ restricted free agents, but Newsome is hoping that both young corners will be with the Ravens for the foreseeable future.

The Ravens other restricted free agent is linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, but Newsome did not specify whether the team is trying to work out a long-term deal with him.

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