Ravens, Oher's Agent Talking Contract

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Ravens officials are progressing in their contract negotiations with first-round draft pick Michael Oher, but it will likely be another month before both sides reach an agreement.

Baltimore director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said Wednesday that there is no hurry to get the contract done immediately, as vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty works with Oher's agent, Jimmy Sexton.

"Pat is just beginning his initial discussions with the agents," DeCosta explained. "Obviously, it is a work in progress. It's not going to happen overnight." First-round deals don't typically happen until mid- to late-July, as training camps across the NFL near and teams want to avoid holdouts for their star signees.

The Ravens are no different.

Last year, quarterback Joe Flacco – the 18th-overall selection – was on time after officially inking a five-year contract on July 21, training camp's opening day.

In fact, the last rookie holdout for Baltimore was in 2006, when defensive tackle Haloti Ngata missed one day of camp before joining his teammates with a fresh five-year contract.

Oher is adamant about being present for all practices.

"I'm going to sit down and talk with my agent this week to see where we're at," stated Oher. "I'm not the type of guy for a holdout. I love football and want to keep getting better as fast as I can. That starts with training camp.

"I'm going to leave it up to him, but I don't want it to get too out of hand. I want to be there to play from the start."

Currently, the only first-round pick to have signed is the top selection, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. He had a six-year agreement for $72 million (including $41.7 million guaranteed) in place even before the draft.

Before Oher signs, many other rookies drafted around the No. 23 spot would have to agree to deals so the Ravens can gauge where their offer fits.

In addition, the Ravens could use last year's 26th-overall pick as a reference point. The Houston Texans took offensive lineman Duane Brown at that spot, and he received a five-year, $11.5 million deal with $6.2 million guaranteed. Brown went on to start all 16 games at left tackle.

"Once some of those deals start coming in from the first round, we'll be able to get a better idea of what we are working with," DeCosta noted. "If you look at when we've gotten our deals done, they typically come in bunches, especially as we get closer to training camp. The biggest thing is that we're not in a rush to do it. You have to do your homework and get both sides to talk a lot about the process.

"Pat is a really good communicator, and he has a good relationship with more of these agents. So, we feel like we're in good hands."

The Ravens have not signed any of their 2009 draft picks, but did retain exclusive free agents Kelly Talavou, a stout defensive tackle that finished last year on Injured Reserve, and Jalen Parmele, who can add depth at running back and special teams.  

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