Ravens strike deal with free agent DB Walker

Street Talk Ravens strike deal with free agent DB Walker

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OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens agreed to terms with backup middle linebacker Nick Greisen and Green Bay Packers free agent cornerback Frank Walker on Thursday, bolstering their defensive depth with a pair of low-profile transactions.

Greisen will sign a three-year, $4 million contract to continue operating as Ray Lewis’ backup after recording 38 tackles and one fumble recovery last season. He received a $1 million signing bonus.

The unrestricted free agent visited the Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns, but remained in contact with Baltimore team officials, including defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, since the signing period began.

Meanwhile, Walker agreed in principle to a two-year, $3.5 million offer sheet that included a $1.25 million signing bonus.

The Ravens didn’t confirm either impending move.

Walker hadn’t taken his physical, a requirement before signing an NFL contract. He’s expected to arrive at the Ravens’ training complex today to finalize the deal.

"Yes, we have a deal," said Harold Lewis, Walker’s agent. "He’s flying out and will be there on Friday."

The 5-foot-11, 196-pound, sixth-year pro is regarded as a backup who will compete for playing time in the defense’s nickel and dime substitution packages.

Walker, 26, played in a dozen games last season for the Packers after signing a one-year, $1.24 million contract following four seasons with the New York Giants. 

In Green Bay last season, Walker saw the majority of his duty as a dime back playing behind starting cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Al Harris. He recorded 17 tackles with one pass deflection last year.

Walker complained about being deactivated for the NFC title game loss to the Giants.

Originally a sixth-round pick in 2003 out of Tuskegee (Ala.), Walker has 83 career tackles, five interceptions and one forced fumble in nine career starts. He has a 33-yard return average, including one 56-yard return for a touchdown as a rookie.
Walker is also an experienced outside gunner on punt coverage.

In other news, Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle’s restructured contract now carries a reduced base salary of $1.4 million, down $2.5 million from an originally scheduled $3.9 million salary. Under the terms of his modified deal, Rolle said that he can still earn the entire $3.9 million through playing-time incentives.

The Ravens altered the contract to protect themselves financially in case Rolle misses a significant amount of time because of epilepsy. He remains under contract for three more years with base salaries of $4.1 million apiece in 2009 and 2010.

"The Ravens were very fair to me," said Rolle, who has been cleared to play next season by team doctors after being limited to five starts last season. "I totally understood why they wanted to do that. I’m not worried about it at all."

Rolle signed a six-year, $30.5 million contract in 2005 that included $11 million in guaranteed money. 

(Note: For more on the Rolle’s contract and the Ravens cap picture just prior to these recent signings click here: CAP)

NOTES: Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden reiterated that he’s leaning toward retirement, adding that the Ravens are aware of his plans.

"It’s just frustrating, because I couldn’t play, especially this last year, at the level that I’m used to playing at, and that kind of irritates me," Ogden told Las Vegas reporters. "I’m a perfectionist out there on the football field, and that’s kind of why I’m leaning toward retiring.

"I have not officially retired, but … the Ravens know to proceed with their offseason plans as if I’m retiring. So if I come back, it’s great, they said, but they’re proceeding as if I’m not."

Ogden was limited to 10 starts last season due to a painful turf toe injury, an ailment that still hasn’t healed.

"I taped it up the other day when I went running," Ogden said. "It just hasn’t healed 100 percent, and I don’t know if it will. The doctor’s still not sure.

"I can still play, but … I don’t want to play if I can’t play at the level I’m capable of playing at." …

Tight end Daniel Wilcox is sponsoring and presenting awards at the annual Baltimore Bee, a spelling competition where students compete to represent Baltimore at the Scripps national spelling bee.

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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