49ers get 51st overall pick in return
The Ravens won't draft until the third round in April because they used their first-rounder to move up and acquire quarterback Kyle Boller in last year's draft. But in making this trade, they now have a Pro Bowl receiver to help their young quarterback grow.
Owens was given permission by the 49ers to seek a deal after his agent failed to file a document voiding the final years of his contract.
Ravens coach Brian Billick said he was impressed by "comments across the board" about Owens' productivity and work ethic.
"The profile we got was of a player that, given his level of proven productivity and his desire to win, seemed to fit the Raven profile," Billick said at a news conference.
Billick also said he wasn't worried about the wide receiver's difficult relationship with the 49ers.
"However he treated people or dealt with people before is not of concern to me because the Baltimore Ravens weren't a part of that," Billick said.
Owens missed out on free agency when he didn't notify the 49ers by Feb. 21 to void the final three years of his contract. Owens had a clause in his contract to void the contract by the first week in March but a collective bargaining override -- which was created in 2001 -- made the date around Feb. 21.
David Joseph, Owens' agent, did know about the change of date. The Ravens pick up the final three years of his contract valued at around $17 million.
Unless Baltimore agrees to renegotiate his contract, the mix up could cost Owens millions.
General manager Ozzie Newsome said the team has been negotiating for an extension on the contract.
Owens is due to make $17.7 million in base salary over the next three seasons, including $5.3 million next year -- a relative bargain for one of the NFL's best receivers.
Owens had been hoping to land a signing bonus of more than $15 million from Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlanta or a handful of other teams with the cap space to sign the star receiver.
All along, the 49ers believed Owens would end up in Baltimore. During the Ravens playoff drive, several 49ers front office people kept calling the Ravens, telling them that they thought Baltimore would be the logical choice. Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis also played a role in urging Owens to come to Baltimore, trying to recruit him at this year's Pro Bowl.
Owens has spent all eight of his NFL seasons with the 49ers, who drafted him in the third round in 1996.
He and Indianapolis' Marvin Harrison are the only receivers with more than 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns over the past four seasons. Last season, Owens had 80 catches for 1,102 yards and nine TDs -- his lowest totals since 1999.
Owens is also known for a series of on-field celebrations and off-field conflicts.
Two years ago, he pulled out a pen and signed a ball after scoring a touchdown in Seattle. He wasn't fined for the move but was chastised by commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who said the star wideout would be disciplined for future stunts.
He also precipitated a melee during a game by dancing on the Dallas Cowboys' star at midfield after scoring.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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