Ayanbadejo pondering Ravens, Jets’ merits

Street Talk Ayanbadejo pondering Ravens, Jets’ merits

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OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens have offered a contract to two-time Pro Bowl special-teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo, a Chicago Bears free agent linebacker who’s expected to choose between the Ravens and the New York Jets today.

The brother of former Ravens fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo, Ayanbadejo is pondering competing four-year offers that average roughly $1.5 million in annual value.

Ayanbadejo, 31, visited the Ravens on Tuesday after meeting with the Jets on Monday. The 6-foot-1, 228-pounder’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, didn’t return telephone calls.

This marks the Ravens’ first foray into free agency since the signing period began.

Even though the Bears took the rare step Monday of announcing that they had rescinded their offer to Ayanadejo that was worth about $800,000 less than what the Ravens and Jets are willing to pay, he has held out hope that they would match the offer.

Ayanbadejo had been seeking similar numbers to New York Giants wide receiver David Tyree’s five-year, $7.5 million contract.

The Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars had demonstrated interest in Ayanbadejo, too.

Ayanbadejo ranks second in the NFL in special-teams tackles over the past two seasons, according to Stats Inc.

Named the Bears’ special-teams captain last year, Ayanbadejo led Chicago with 26 special-teams tackles after recording a career-high 28 special-teams tackles in 2006.

Both the Ravens and the Jets appear to be good fits for Ayanbadejo.

New Baltimore coach John Harbaugh has a strong special-teams background from his days as an assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles. And Jets special teams coach Kevin O’Dea was an assistant for the Bears for the past two seasons.

Ayanbadejo griped last season about wanting an increased role in the Bears’ defensive rotation, but that request wasn’t granted.

Ayanbadejo was with the Ravens briefly in 2001 and was allocated to NFL Europe, but was cut prior to training camp.

He went undrafted out of UCLA after being named All-Pac 10 as a senior with nine sacks and four fumble recoveries.

Former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver and return specialist Tab Perry is another free agent that could be on the Ravens’ radar.

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

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Aaron Wilson

About 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 Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors. 

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