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The Baltimore Ravens have officially signed LB Ray Lewis to his new contract, according to a report in the Carroll County Times. However, what has been reported as a three-year, $22 million contract is actually a convoluted seven-year contract with $15.5 million guaranteed, according to one source each from the team and the NFL Players Association.

According to the sources, who have seen Lewis' contract, the deal is actually a complicated version of accounting designed to pay Lewis $10 million in the first year of the contract. That breakdown is a $6.25 million signing bonus, a $2.75 million roster bonus and a $1 million base salary for the 2009 season.

The Ravens then have two "options" to exercise in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. If the Ravens pick up the 2010 option, they must pay Lewis $1.25 million as an option bonus. He then makes $4.25 million in base salary. In 2011, the second option bonus would pay Lewis a $2 million bonus and a base salary of $4.5 million. No details were given in regards to the latter four years of the contract.

"The reason for doing it this way is to deal with the salary cap, assuming that there's a cap again," the NFLPA source said. "It's just a way of handling the proration on the signing bonus and the other money."

Lewis agreed to terms with the Ravens last Wednesday after testing the free-agency market for a few days. The 10-time Pro Bowler has spent his entire 13-year career with Baltimore.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire

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