Phillips, Peerman Sign Contracts

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The Ravens signed two more draft picks, locking linebacker Jason Phillips and running back Cedric Peerman into three-year contracts on Wednesday.

Baltimore also released cornerbacks Anwar Phillips and David Jones.

Jason Phillips and Peerman join tight end Davon Drew among the Class of 2009 to sign their rookie deals. The Ravens have begun contract negotiations with first-round offensive tackle Michael Oher.

Phillips, selected in the fifth round (137th overall) can provide the Ravens with depth at the middle linebacker position, where he anchored a stout defense at Texas Christian University. The 6-foot, 236-pounder is the only player in Mountain West Conference history to earn four consecutive All-MWC honors after leading the team in tackles for three out of his four seasons.

"I think you all have gotten to know that when we take a defensive player, that player has some special traits about him – the way he plays – and Jason plays that way," said Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome when Phillips was drafted.

Little is known about Phillips at the NFL level, however. He only recently began taking reps in practice this week at rookie camp after sitting out of all previous minicamps with a knee injury.

Phillips tore the lateral meniscus in his knee in February at the NFL Scouting Combine and is still recovering from the surgery. While Phillips has said his knee feels fine, he could be a candidate to start training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

Peerman, a sixth-round pick (185th), has been impressive this offseason for his speed and toughness. The former team captain at the University of Virginia ran the fastest 40-yard dash time among running backs at the Combine, clocking in at 4.45 seconds.

Peerman is a versatile player, finishing his collegiate career with a total of 1,749 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns, adding 1,256 yards from 50 kickoff returns and 67 receptions for 344 yards and one score.

But even though he can back up Willis McGaheeRay Rice and Le'Ron McClain, Peerman must show that he can contribute on special teams to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.

The Ravens are also high on Peerman's leadership qualities. As an ordained minister, Peerman has the high character that benefits an NFL locker room.

"He's got speed. He was one of the fastest backs at the combine," explained Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. "He was a captain of their team, and someone from Virginia said to us, 'He's one of the finest, if not the finest leader they've ever had at Virginia.' And I think that says a lot about a guy. Those kinds of guys tend to do well [in the NFL]."

Anwar Phillips spent the bulk of last year on Baltimore's practice squad, while Jones was a rookie free agent out of Kentucky. While Phillips did make some solid plays during minicamps, Jones went largely unnoticed.

With Jason Phillips and Peerman signed, that leaves Oher, second-rounder Paul Kruger and third-rounder Lardarius Webb as the remaining draftees without contracts.  

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