Falcons reach six-year, $18M deal with Ravens FB

Updated: March 2, 2007, 4:39 PM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

The Falcons had a good fullback in Justin Griffith, but they decided to go bigger and more expensive.

Ovie Mughelli
Mughelli

On Friday, the Falcons reached a six-year, $18 million deal with Ravens fullback Ovie Mughelli that included a $5 million signing bonus. The blockbuster deal is the biggest contract given to a pure fullback.

Mughelli is the second Ravens player to leave in the first day of free agency. Right tackle Tony Pashos signed a five-year, $24 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The reason for the Mughelli big deal is competition. The Dolphins were interesed in putting Mughelli with featured running back Ronnie Brown. Cam Cameron, the Dolphins new head coach, wanted to copy the one-two backfield put he had in San Diego with LaDainian Tomlinson and fullback Lorenzo Neal by matching Mughelli with Brown.

As the free agency opened early Friday morning, Mughelli had offers of $2.75 million a year, which was roughly $800,000 over Neal, who negotiated the league's highest fullback extension on Thursday.

John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer