Ravens Notebook: Graham signing imminent? New signal caller?

Street Talk Ravens Notebook: Graham signing imminent? New signal caller?

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OWINGS MILLS – Veteran kicker Shayne Graham arrived in Baltimore late Wednesday afternoon, a likely precursor to a physical and a signed contract at some point today.

The Ravens are extremely confident they’ll ultimately sign the former Cincinnati Bengals kicker to a one-year contract. Negotiations continued throughout the day as both sides haggled over a prospective deal that’s characterized as all but done. If Graham finalizes his contract, he’s slated to compete with incumbent Billy Cundiff.

"Shayne is a guy who we’ve been in contact with throughout and we’re interested in," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We’ll just have to see how it plays out in the next number of days."

Harbaugh didn’t specify what has been the sticking point in talks between the Ravens and Graham’s agent, David Dunn.

"I wouldn’t characterize it," Harbaugh said. "We’re just in a process of trying to upgrade every position, and the kicking position being one of those."

Harbaugh added that the team would still look to sign a veteran kicker if things fall through with Graham. However, that’s not anticipated. The Ravens still expect to land Graham, whom they met with at the NFL owners meetings in March.

According to NFL officials, the Bengals had negotiating rights with Graham until after June 1 when they declined to extend a tender for 110 percent of his 2009 base salary.

"The Bengals didn’t elect to do so," the league indicated. "Had they done so, they would have received exclusive negotiating rights to Graham in the event he did not sign a contract with another club by July 26."

Plus, the Ravens now have a better chance of receiving a compensatory selection next year after losing two unrestricted free agents in defensive linemen Justin Bannan (Denver Broncos) and Dwan Edwards (Buffalo Bills), and signing Cory Redding (Seattle Seahawks)

Harbaugh went out of his way to emphasize that the team likes what it’s seen out of Cundiff.

"I think Billy’s had a tremendous offseason," Harbaugh said. "If you look at the way he kicked during the season, I thought he had a very good season, especially coming in like he did. He hadn’t been kicking for a couple of years.

"So, Billy Cundiff is a guy who can definitely kick in this league. He’s got leg strength, and his accuracy and mechanics have tremendously improved because of the work he’s put in."

Graham is the fourth-most accurate kicker in league history, but struggled at times last season as the Bengals dealt with snapping problems. The final straw for the Bengals came when their former franchise player missed a pair of kicks during a playoff loss to the New York Jets.

HAREWOOD MAKING PROGRESS: Rookie offensive tackle Ramon Harewood still isn’t cleared medically to practice after damaging soft tissue in his knee last month. However, the sixth-round draft pick from Morehouse took part in individual drills today at the Ravens’ rookie minicamp.

"We’ve got our fingers crossed for next week a little bit," Harbaugh said. "We’ll just see how it goes."

The 6-foot-6, 340-pounder initially thought he would be out three to four weeks and is basically on schedule.

Harewood is the first NFL player from Barbados.

RAVENS TRY OUT HOLY CROSS QB: The Ravens brought in undrafted rookie Holy Cross quarterback Dominic Randolph on a tryout basis to throw passes at their minicamp. Randolph was cut by the New York Giants two weeks after being signed following the draft.

"It’s a golden opportunity," Randolph said. "It’s been exciting and a fun run."

It wasn’t exactly smooth sailing for Randolph, who was intercepted three times and had a bunch of passes deflected.

QUICK HITS: Harbaugh praised rookie wide receiver David Reed, who caught several passes. … "I thought he caught everything that I noticed," Harbaugh said. "He made some radius catches, low catches, high catches, behind-the-back stuff. The thing that David’s got to do like any of these young guys is learn the mental part of it, learn where he’s supposed to be, how he’s supposed to line up, the tempo of the motions, how far he goes in motion on different routes. There’s a lot to it, so that he can actually think less and play faster." … Ravens senior personnel assistant George Kokinis, who officially rejoined the team this week, was at practice.


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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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