| ||Friday, February 18|
|OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Tony Banks, who started the
last 10 games for the Baltimore Ravens and led them to a 6-4
record, was rewarded Friday with a four-year contract.
On Thursday, ESPN The Magazine's John Clayton reported that the deal is worth $18.6 million and includes a $2 million signing bonus.
Banks, 26, completed 169 of 320 passes (52.8 percent) for 2,136 yards and a career-high 17 touchdowns. His 5.3 touchdown percentage led the AFC and was the fourth-best in the NFL.
Banks led Baltimore to a 4-0 mark in December to improve his career mark to 10-4 in the season's final month."While evaluating the available free agent quarterbacks, we felt strongly that we wanted Tony back," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "He can provide continuity to our offense, which improved over the course of last season.
"Tony showed that he can run our offense efficiently. I've said all along that Tony can step to another level if he stayed in the same offensive system for two years in a row."
Originally drafted in the second round in 1996, Banks was the starting quarterback for the St. Louis Rams the previous three seasons. After signing free agent quarterback Trent Green in the offseason, the Rams traded Banks to the Ravens for a pair of draft picks. Kurt Warner emerged for the Rams when Green was injured.
The Ravens have been among the most active teams in the offseason, acquiring seven-time Pro Bowl tight end Shannon Sharpe and left tackle Kip Vickers. They also brought back defensive linemen Rob Burnett and Larry Webster, their own free agents.
Broncos' Sharpe finds new football home in Baltimore