In his initial rookie contract, Heap was owed a $2.52 million base salary for
2005, which has now been reduced to $540,000. In a split-tier signing bonus that
has become popular in most of the Ravens' major player deals, Heap initially
received $4 million upon signing his contract and is set to receive $7 million
in a 2006 roster bonus.
Including the bonus money, Heap's total compensation for the next two years is $12.1 million as he is slated to make $560,000 for his 2006 base salary. He's projected to earn $14.8 million over the first three years of the contract.
Heap's base salaries rise significantly after the first two years of the deal as he'll earn $2.7 million in 2007. Heap is slated to earn $3 million in 2008, $3.6 million in 2009, $4 million in 2010 and $4.6 million in 2011.
Heap's contract averages $4.286 million annually and represents the richest tight end contract in league history, eclipsing the Kansas City Chiefs' Tony Gonzalez and Cleveland Browns' Kellen Winslow.
The contract places Heap among the top 15 receiver contracts in NFL history, ranking him in the company of Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens.
Heap's career-high season was 2002 when he caught 68 passes for 836 yards and six touchdowns.
Heap, 25, was limited to 10 games and 27 catches and three touchdowns last season because of a severe ankle injury. The 2001 first-round draft pick is rehabbing from ankle surgery and a shoulder procedure and is unlikely to be available for contact drills during training camp.
With Heap's contract situation addressed, the Ravens are now likely to explore extensions for running back Jamal Lewis and defensive end Tony Weaver, who will become unrestricted free agents after this season.
Lewis' agent, Mitch Frankel, has said he has held preliminary talks with the Ravens regarding the 2003 NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
NOTE: The Ravens were assigned $3.326 million for their rookie pool to sign their draft picks.
In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.
If you are reading this article via a news portal, you can find the
original on RavensInsider.Com