Ravens agree to 4-year deal with Mike Anderson
Broncos RB will make close to $8M; Baltimore also signs ex-Bill Bannan, retains Bart Scott; Punter Zastudil headed to Browns
By Jamison Hensley
Originally published March 12, 2006, 10:19 PM EST
The Ravens agreed in principle Sunday night on a four-year deal with Mike Anderson, who expects to take over for Jamal Lewis as the team's starting running back. The total worth of the deal is believed to be $8 million with a $2 million signing bonus.
Anderson, 32, gained 1,014 yards rushing and scored 12 touchdowns last season for the Denver Broncos.
Anderson beat Jamal Lewis for the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2000, when he gained 1,487 yards and scored 15 touchdowns. Anderson's numbers declined from 2001 to 2003, when he averaged 440 yards. He was sidelined for the entire 2004 season because of a groin injury.
Earlier in the day, Baltimore signed linebacker Bart Scott to a three-year deal, a league source said.
The Ravens were able to beat out the Cleveland Browns, who were courting Scott for two days at their facility.
Scott will receive a total deal worth $13.5 million, including a $6.5 million signing bonus. He is scheduled to earn $1 million this season, $2.6 million in 2007 and $3.4 million in 2008.
Scott, 25, proved he can be a starter in the NFL last season when he replaced injured Ray Lewis. He finished second in tackles with 119 and had 4 1/2 sacks.
The Ravens also reached an agreement with defensive tackle Justin Bannan on a four-year contract Sunday, his agent confirmed.
According to a league source, the Ravens gave Bannan a $3 million signing bonus.
Bannan, 26, was a backup to Sam Adams with the Buffalo Bills but started seven of the final eight games last season. In 55 career games with the Bills, he had 78 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks.
At 6 feet 3, 305 pounds, Bannan is considered a high-effort defender.
Over the first two days of free agency, the Ravens attempted to sign Maake Kemoeatu (who went to Carolina) and Ted Washington (Browns). The Ravens chose not to pursue veterans such as Adams and Grady Jackson.
The only interior linemen on the Ravens' roster with any experience are Kelly Gregg, Dwan Edwards and Aubrayo Franklin.
Meanwhile, the Browns signed punter Dave Zastudil, a fourth-round pick by the Ravens in 2002, is returning home by signing with the Browns. He attended high school and college in Ohio.
Last season, Zastudil averaged a career-best 43.5 yards a punt. His final decision came down to the Browns and the Ravens.
Browns general manager Phil Savage is familiar with Zastudil because he was the long-time scouting director for the Ravens. The Associated Press reported Zastudil agreed to a 5-year deal.
Two days into free agency, the Ravens have signed two players (Bannan and defensive end Trevor Pryce) and lost four of their own free agents (Zastudil, Kemoeatu, defensive end Tony Weaver and running back Chester Taylor).
2-mil a year base salary. Not a bad deal at all. If they draft DeAngelo, they'll have a sweet tandem in the backfield.