R. Lewis inks seven-year deal

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OWINGS MILLS — Baltimore Ravens star middle linebacker Ray Lewis signed a seven-year, incentive-laden contract with a maximum total value of roughly $44 million that includes $10 million in first-year compensation, according to NFL Players Association records.

Initially reported to have signed a three-year, $22 million pact, Lewis is now under contract through 2015. The longer term allows the Ravens to spread out the salary-cap proration of the deal.

Because Lewis turns 34 in May and plays a position with a high level of contact, it’s extremely unlikely that he’ll be with the team for more than three seasons. He’ll earn $22 million over the next three years, which is how long the deal is expected to last.

The two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and former University of Miami star received a $6.25 million signing bonus, a $2.75 million roster bonus and a $1 million base salary for the 2009 season.

According to Yahoo! Sports, Lewis received $15.5 million in guaranteed money. His contract contains option year bonuses of $1.25 million in 2010 and $2 million in 2011. Under the terms of the deal, the Ravens have protection financially if Lewis’ game declines.

The 10-time Pro Bowl selection is due the following base salaries, per NFLPA records: $1 million in 2009, $4.25 million in 2010, $4.5 million in 2011, $4.95 million in 2012, $5.4 million in 2013, $5.85 million in 2014 and $6.3 million in 2015.

Lewis’ seven-year, $50 million contract that he signed in 2002 expired after last season.

He recorded a team-high 117 tackles last season for the NFL’s second-ranked defense, also registering 3 1/2 sacks, three interceptions and two forced fumbles as he started every game for the first time since 2003.

NOTE: Green Bay Packers restricted free agent reserve cornerback and special-teams standout Jarrett Bush is scheduled to visit the Ravens today, according to his agent. Bush has also visited the Tennessee Titans and is scheduled to visit the Cleveland Browns after meeting with the Ravens.

If the Ravens or any other team were to submit an offer sheet on Bush, the Packers have the right to match. Because Bush went undrafted out of college and was assigned the low tender of $1.01 million, the Packers wouldn’t be entitled to any draft-pick compensation if they didn’t match an offer.

Listed at 6-foot, 200 pounds, Bush has 51 career tackles and two forced fumbles in three NFL seasons.

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

This entry was posted in The Beat with Aaron Wilson by Aaron Wilson. Bookmark the permalink.

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson
Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best...more

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