Late For Work 4/16: Ravens Make Offer To Brown, Pursue Dixon

Rice, Williams missing workouts not surprising, McKinnie to attend. Evans signs with Jags.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Monday, April 16th, 2012 at 8:48 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Ravens Make One-Year Offer To Brown

It appears the Ravens are trying to lure their 2005 fourth-round draft pick back to Baltimore.

The team made an offer to center Jason Brown, who is also drawing interest from several other teams, according to the NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora.

“Baltimore, which does not have much salary-cap room, made a conservative one-year offer to Brown,” wrote La Canfora.

Brown, who turns 29 next month, played four seasons in Baltimore before signing a reported five-year, $37.5 million deal with the St. Louis Rams in 2009. He has only missed two starts in the last five years.

After three seasons with the Rams, Brown was cut in a sweep of housecleaning moves made by new Head Coach Jeff Fisher. Brown has visited both the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers, and both teams reportedly want to sign him.

For now, the 6-foot-3, 320-pounder will take his time in making a decision about which team he’ll sign with. He may wait until after the draft to make a final choice, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“Brown could still end up with the Ravens — he enjoyed his time with the team, and Baltimore needs a guard who can help replace Ben Grubbs (who left via free agency) and offer additional protection for aging center Matt Birk,” wrote La Canfora. “But Brown is seeing what the market will bear and taking his time mulling his options.”

Ravens Pursing QB Dixon

St. Louis is interested in Steelers free agent quarterback Dennis Dixon, who worked out for the Rams last week.

But apparently the Rams could be facing some competition for Dixon as he is also drawing interest from the Broncos and … the Ravens?

Yup. That’s what the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting.

Dixon, 27, spent the last four years in Pittsburgh after being drafted by the Steelers in the fifth round of the 2008 draft. He served primarily as a backup and No. 3 quarterback to Ben Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch, starting just three games. His first career start came in a losing effort against the Ravens in 2009.

He has just 35 career completions for 402 yards and one touchdown.

If Dixon were to sign with the Ravens, he would have to beat out Tyrod Taylor to get the No. 2 QB role.

As a rookie, Taylor backed up starter Joe Flacco throughout the 2011 season. The sixth-round draft pick only attempted one pass last season, which was completed for 18 yards against the San Diego Chargers. He was sacked twice.

Harbaugh was recently asked at the team’s pre-draft press conference if he was still satisfied with Taylor in that role.

“Yes, with Tyrod Taylor, absolutely,” Harbaugh said. ”But everybody competes for every spot every year, every practice, and Tyrod is no different. But we like him a lot.”

Rice Missing Workouts Not Surprising

Let’s put it this way:

It would be more newsworthy if Ray Rice attended voluntary offseason workouts than if he didn’t.

That’s how uncommon it is for an unsigned franchised player to show up in April while his agent is still negotiating a long-term deal.

So it wasn’t exactly shocking when news broke over the weekend that Rice will not be in Owings Mills with his teammates for the first day of workouts today.

NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora reports that, in addition to Rice, 11 other franchised players will not attend the start of their teams’ offseason work, including Drew Brees, Wes Welker, Dwayne Bowe and Matt Forte.

“One agent who represents a franchised player accurately summed up the prevailing sentiment,” wrote La Canfora. “Asked if there is a zero percent chance that the player will report without signing a new contract over the weekend, the agent quipped, ‘No, that’s too high.

“It’s common for numerous franchised players to remain unsigned at this stage of the offseason, and there often isn’t much urgency – on the part of the team or most veteran players – to get deals signed before OTAs begin.”

Rice told BaltimoreRavens.com earlier this month that he was undecided about attending the voluntary activities. Ravens brass told journalists a few days later that they knew one consequence of tagging Rice would be that he might miss time with the team, but they would be prepared for such a scenario.

“For now, Rice won’t be missing much,” wrote PFT.com’s Mike Florio. “The first several weeks of offseason workouts feature guys working on their biceps.  Eventually, practice begins in T-shirts and shorts.”

The two-time Pro Bowler hasn’t signed his $7.742 million franchise tender. The Ravens have until July 16 to secure Rice to a long-term deal; otherwise he could play the entire season under the tag.

The team has communicated with Rice’s agent, Todd France, but apparently they “aren’t anywhere close to a deal.”

“Rice has attended offseason workouts in the past, but not under the backdrop of potentially difficult contract negotiations between him and the Ravens,” wrote The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec. “So the more appropriate question next week probably should be not if the running back stays away, but for how long.”

Williams To Miss Workouts Too

Unsigned restricted free agent cornerback Cary Williams isn’t expected to attend voluntary offseason workouts either, but that is because he is still rehabilitating from offseason hip surgery in Tennessee, reports La Canfora.

The former seventh-round selection was assigned the $1.927 million second-round tender earlier this offseason after a breakout 2011 season where he emerged as the starting corner opposite Lardarius Webb.

Webb was recently signed to a six-year deal, and General Manager Ozzie Newsome announced that the Ravens are also working on a deal that would keep Williams in Baltimore beyond 2012.

Usually unsigned players are unable to participate in football activities, but 27-year-old Williams has secured a waiver that would allow him to participate.

Williams is very amenable to a long-term deal, and he and the Ravens have had preliminary talks,” wrote La Canfora. “He will report at some point this offseason, but likely not until May at the earliest.”

McKinnie Scheduled To Attend Workouts

Head Coach John Harbaugh said in late-March that he wanted to see his starting left tackle Bryant McKinnie at a weight that would allow him to be in top shape for the start of the NFL season.

He also expressed a desire to see the 11-year veteran at the voluntary workouts so the team could help ensure that could happen.

It appears the Ravens will indeed get that chance, as the 6-foot-8, 360-pounder is set to attend offseason activities, reports The Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson.

The team met with McKinnie before he was due a $500,000 roster bonus on March 16. He is reportedly scheduled to make $3.2 million in 2012.

His weight was a hot topic last offseason, even before he signed with the Ravens, when he returned to the Minnesota Vikings after the lockout reportedly weighing nearly 400 pounds.

After he was cut by the Vikings and subsequently signed by the Ravens in August 2011, McKinnie quickly trimmed his weight down and played his way into shape.

The Ravens would like to see him get even better.

“This guy’s got good body composition. It’s not like he’s a big, fat guy. He’s a big guy,” Harbaugh said at the NFL owners meetings.

“We still want him to be able to move a little better and get a little quicker. He’s committed to that, he’s excited about attacking that and it’s a big goal of his.”

Evans Signs One-Year Deal With Jags

Former Baltimore Ravens receiver Lee Evans signed a one-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, reported ESPN’s Adam Schefter Sunday.

The move reunites Evans with Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey, who was also the head coach of the Bills when Evans had a breakout rookie season in Buffalo.

The Ravens released Evans prior to the opening of free agency, a cost-cutting move to create more space under the salary cap.

After trading a fourth-round draft pick for Evans last offseason, he missed seven games with a foot injury. He finished the season with four catches for 74 yards and no touchdowns.

The 31-year-old receiver will be most remembered in Baltimore for not securing a game-winning touchdown in the AFC championship that could have sent the Ravens to the Super Bowl.

Quick Hits

  • University of North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown and University of Georgia center Ben Jones worked out for the Baltimore Ravens. [Scout.com]
  • The Ravens see an opportunity in casino sponsorships. [Baltimore Business Journal]
  • TyrodTaylor: Camp was a success!! Thanks to everyone that helped out and participated. Enjoy the rest of your day [Twitter]

Ravens players are flocking back to Baltimore for voluntary workouts …

  • vleach44: Just landed in bmore what’s good [Twitter]
  • Tandondoss: Fiinally boarding… Bmore bound… Time to go back to work!!! [Twitter]
  • Dgorrer36: Family straight next stop #Bmore [Twitter]
  • pkruger99: Headed back to Baltimore [Twitter]
  • Artj97: Back safe in baltimore. [Twitter]
  • cmorgancox: Good sign… Get up early to finish the drive to Baltimore and what’s the first song on the radio? #BALLSOHARDUNIVERSITY [Twitter]

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