Baker Sports Management http://www.bakersports.com NFL Agent Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:52:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sports Agent Steve Baker Plays to Win http://www.bakersports.com/articles/articles-about-steve/sports-agent-steve-baker-plays-to-win/ http://www.bakersports.com/articles/articles-about-steve/sports-agent-steve-baker-plays-to-win/#respond Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:24:04 +0000 http://www.bakersports.com/?p=769 Steve Baker in SF Business Times ArticleSan Francisco Business Times

Hashing out a professional athlete’s contract is more than just a numbers game according to Steve Baker, a sports agent and president of Baker Sports Management. The San Francisco-based attorney has been in the business for the past three decades and has worked with Bay Area athletes including former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia and more recently, Shayne Skov, an All-American linebacker from Stanford University.  (more...)

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Steve Baker SF Business Times

Bay Area sports agent offers behind-the-scenes look at athlete contracts

Julia Cooper
Researcher-
San Francisco Business Times

Hashing out a professional athlete’s contract is more than just a numbers game according to Steve Baker, a sports agent and president of Baker Sports Management.

The San Francisco-based attorney has been in the business for the past three decades and has worked with Bay Area athletes including former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia and more recently, Shayne Skov, an All-American linebacker from Stanford University.

Baker spoke with the Business Times about negotiating contracts, which teams are doing it right, and the Bay Area athletes that have the potential to be national-level superstars.

What do you look for when negotiating an athlete’s contract?
When valuing a contract there’s many moving pieces, but as a general rule what you look at is the degree of guarantee and the amount of money the player should expect to make in one, two and three years of the contract.

How do agents make a case for the value of your clients?
You certainly look at numbers. You use statistics and everything in your arsenal to argue why a player has the best value. When you’re doing a deal as an agent you basically try to analyze every argument in favor of your client and also try to be aware of every argument against your client.

For example, Colin Kaepernick has had an unprecedented level of success for someone as young as he is, so that’s the argument Kaepernick’s agent can make. In the case of Buster Posey, he is more than just a statistic. Buster Posey is the heart and soul of the San Francisco Giants. In the case of Madison Bumgarner, left-handed starters who can put in the number of innings that Bumgarner can do is extremely rare.

How do you rate Bay Area teams when it comes to athlete contracts?
The 49ers and the Giants front offices are among the best front offices in their sport. The smartest teams figure out who their core players are and try to get them under contract before they ever hit free agency, before those players have maximum leverage. With the Giants, an example would be Madison Bumgarner, and with the 49ers, an example would be Colin Kaepernick.

You would never want Buster Posey to hit free agency. You would never want Madison Bumgarner to hit free agency. If Madison Bumgarner hit the free agent market at his present value, he would become one of the highest-paid pitchers in baseball. The Giants very adroitly offered him a significant amount of up-front money in exchange for buying out arbitration. Bumgarner left a lot of money on the table, but in exchange for security, which for a pitcher where you can go out at any time makes a lot of sense.

Do athletes receive any perks in their contract beyond money?
You really can’t do that now because anything players negotiate for counts against the cap. For example, a player wouldn’t really negotiate for a luxury box suite because that would count against the cap. You might as well just take the money. The real negotiable terms of a contract are the amount of money, the degree of guarantee of the money, and the timing of when the money is paid.

Do any current Bay Area athletes have the potential to be superstars?
I think Stephen Curry, Buster Posey and Colin Kaepernick are among the local athletes that have the potential to become huge national brands because all three are among the best at their position as players in their sport, and also very popular players.

What factors can play a role when an athlete is signing with a team?
When Alex Smith was a free agent last time, he took less money to come back to the 49ers than going to the Miami Dolphins. It was worth a lot of money to Alex Smith to return to a team that had a chance to compete in the Super Bowl. There are many players who will leave money on the table and give a hometown discount to the team they play for if it increases their chance to win.

One of the smartest business decisions I’ve ever seen an athlete make is Lebron James resigning with Cleveland. He signed with a team with the salary cap room to sign several other young superior players, which Miami didn’t have. Lebron, a brand that was already the biggest brand in all of sports, became far more valuable by him going to Cleveland.

Are athletes overpaid?
I realize people think that athletes are overpaid, and I rather strongly believe that not to be true. The only time that an athlete is overpaid is when a player signs a contract with a team that overvalues a player’s skills; like in the case of Barry Zito. Athletes make their money within a construct that is extremely profitable.

Julia Cooper is an editorial researcher at the San Francisco Business Times.

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A Drive, a Ball, and a Bonus http://www.bakersports.com/articles/articles-about-steve/a-drive-a-ball-and-a-bonus/ http://www.bakersports.com/articles/articles-about-steve/a-drive-a-ball-and-a-bonus/#respond Mon, 08 Sep 2014 18:20:38 +0000 http://www.bakersports.com/?p=686 Ult Sports Guide Cover

Steve Baker shares his greatest sports memories with Ultimate Sports Guide


steve-ult-sports-guide

Greatest memories:

a drive, a ball and a bonus

-- Steve Baker

My greatest memories as a sports fan and agent were the creation of an exception to the NFL salary cap, missing out on the possibility of catching a historic baseball, and watching a client achieve a $10 million bonus I had negotiated with the legendary Bill Walsh.

No. 1:  I was driving through the San Francisco Presidio one day in early 1999, on the way to the birth of my twins at California Pacific Medical Center, and the Oakland Raiders called offering a $500,000 one-year deal to a linebacker client of my mine.

I asked if they'd agree that he'd be worth $1 million if he were the starter and if they'd agree that 51 percent playing time would qualify him as a starter.

They said they would pay $1 million if he were the starter but couldn't negotiate an incentive to get to $1 million at 51 percent playing time since my client had seen action in over 80 percent of the plays the previous year and any incentive below that amount would count against the salary cap.

I thought there was a good chance my client would be in on over 50 percent of the plays that year but 80 percent was very unlikely. I asked the team to consider if I could come up with a salary cap-friendly way to close the deal.

They agreed to my proposal of a five-year deal (where the final four years could disappear after the first year), with a $500,000 signing bonus that was deferred to the end of the year and forfeited if my client failed to play 51 percent of the plays. It was an end run around the salary cap because of the potential $1 million payout on a deal whose salary cap number was only $600,000. And it was unique -- such a deal had never before been negotiated in the NFL.

One of my passions in the sports business is to find unique ways to structure a deal. As it turned out, my client played over 51 percent of the plays (but saw far less action than the year before) and made his $1 million. The team got a starter at a fair contract. And last but hardly least, my wife gave birth to twins that day, a boy and girl (Ben and Sabrina). Feb. 9, 1999, one of the best days of my life.

[caption id="attachment_719" align="aligncenter" width="300"]sabrina-and-ben Sabrina and Ben Baker[/caption]

No. 2:  During Game 1 of the Dodgers vs. A's 1988 World Series, my future wife and I had to leave our right-field seats in the seventh inning to go see my future mother-in-law in the premiere of the play "Steel Magnolias" at the Pasadena Playhouse.

We watched the ninth inning on my little Sony Watchman in the playhouse parking lot. That's where we saw injured Dodger Kirk Gibson hit perhaps the most famous game-winning home run in baseball history right into the area where we had been sitting in right field.

gibson-23

My mother-in-law got a standing ovation, and the Dodgers went on to pull off one of the great World Series upsets. I suspect that ball is now pretty valuable.

No. 3:  It was the final game of the San Francisco 49ers 2001 season.

I had negotiated a $10 million escalation clause into Jeff Garcia's contract, which would be earned if he finished the season as the NFL's third-rated quarterback.

Going into the game he was ranked fourth. But then he threw four touchdown passes and passed Brett Favre to finish as the third-ranked quarterback in the NFL by less than a percentage point. I'll never forget Jeff's face the following day when in my office I told him he had just made another $10 million.

player-5

But more important, and better than any of these, was my son's first goal in water polo last year.

Steve Baker is a prominent San Francisco-based sports attorney and law professor who has negotiated millions of dollars in creative sports and marketing contracts for professional athletes, broadcasters and Olympic athletes.

Steve negotiated what were at the time the largest quarterback, outside linebacker and special teams player contracts in NFL history. Local San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders clients include: Jeff Garcia, Ray Brown, Shayne Skov, Jon Ritchie, Matt Giordano and Courtney Anderson. He is a graduate of Tufts University and Cornell Law School.

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Ult Sports Guide Cover

Steve Baker shares his greatest sports memories with Ultimate Sports Guide

steve-ult-sports-guide

Greatest memories:

a drive, a ball and a bonus

– Steve Baker

My greatest memories as a sports fan and agent were the creation of an exception to the NFL salary cap, missing out on the possibility of catching a historic baseball, and watching a client achieve a $10 million bonus I had negotiated with the legendary Bill Walsh.

No. 1:  I was driving through the San Francisco Presidio one day in early 1999, on the way to the birth of my twins at California Pacific Medical Center, and the Oakland Raiders called offering a $500,000 one-year deal to a linebacker client of my mine.

I asked if they’d agree that he’d be worth $1 million if he were the starter and if they’d agree that 51 percent playing time would qualify him as a starter.

They said they would pay $1 million if he were the starter but couldn’t negotiate an incentive to get to $1 million at 51 percent playing time since my client had seen action in over 80 percent of the plays the previous year and any incentive below that amount would count against the salary cap.

I thought there was a good chance my client would be in on over 50 percent of the plays that year but 80 percent was very unlikely. I asked the team to consider if I could come up with a salary cap-friendly way to close the deal.

They agreed to my proposal of a five-year deal (where the final four years could disappear after the first year), with a $500,000 signing bonus that was deferred to the end of the year and forfeited if my client failed to play 51 percent of the plays. It was an end run around the salary cap because of the potential $1 million payout on a deal whose salary cap number was only $600,000. And it was unique — such a deal had never before been negotiated in the NFL.

One of my passions in the sports business is to find unique ways to structure a deal. As it turned out, my client played over 51 percent of the plays (but saw far less action than the year before) and made his $1 million. The team got a starter at a fair contract. And last but hardly least, my wife gave birth to twins that day, a boy and girl (Ben and Sabrina). Feb. 9, 1999, one of the best days of my life.

sabrina-and-ben

Sabrina and Ben Baker

No. 2:  During Game 1 of the Dodgers vs. A’s 1988 World Series, my future wife and I had to leave our right-field seats in the seventh inning to go see my future mother-in-law in the premiere of the play “Steel Magnolias” at the Pasadena Playhouse.

We watched the ninth inning on my little Sony Watchman in the playhouse parking lot. That’s where we saw injured Dodger Kirk Gibson hit perhaps the most famous game-winning home run in baseball history right into the area where we had been sitting in right field.

gibson-23

My mother-in-law got a standing ovation, and the Dodgers went on to pull off one of the great World Series upsets. I suspect that ball is now pretty valuable.

No. 3:  It was the final game of the San Francisco 49ers 2001 season.

I had negotiated a $10 million escalation clause into Jeff Garcia’s contract, which would be earned if he finished the season as the NFL’s third-rated quarterback.

Going into the game he was ranked fourth. But then he threw four touchdown passes and passed Brett Favre to finish as the third-ranked quarterback in the NFL by less than a percentage point. I’ll never forget Jeff’s face the following day when in my office I told him he had just made another $10 million.

player-5

But more important, and better than any of these, was my son’s first goal in water polo last year.

Steve Baker is a prominent San Francisco-based sports attorney and law professor who has negotiated millions of dollars in creative sports and marketing contracts for professional athletes, broadcasters and Olympic athletes.

Steve negotiated what were at the time the largest quarterback, outside linebacker and special teams player contracts in NFL history. Local San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders clients include: Jeff Garcia, Ray Brown, Shayne Skov, Jon Ritchie, Matt Giordano and Courtney Anderson. He is a graduate of Tufts University and Cornell Law School.

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Will Svitek Addresses NFL Symposium http://www.bakersports.com/articles/news/will-svitek-addresses-nfl-symposium/ http://www.bakersports.com/articles/news/will-svitek-addresses-nfl-symposium/#respond Thu, 26 Jun 2014 04:22:47 +0000 http://www.bakersports.com/?p=610 Will Svitek Addresses NFL Symposium

Will Svitek addresses incoming rookies at the NFL Symposium on the importance of planning for life after football during a player’s NFL career.

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Will Svitek addresses incoming rookies at the NFL Symposium on the importance of planning for life after football during a player’s NFL career.

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Will Svitek NFL Symposium 2
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Johnson Bademosi a guest at the 2014 NFLPA Licensing Expo http://www.bakersports.com/articles/news/johnson-bademosi-a-guest-at-the-2014-nflpa-licensing-expo/ http://www.bakersports.com/articles/news/johnson-bademosi-a-guest-at-the-2014-nflpa-licensing-expo/#respond Fri, 20 Jun 2014 05:12:57 +0000 http://www.bakersports.com/?p=473 NFLPI Adds Penguin Young Readers Group and Funko LAS VEGAS, June 19, 2014 – NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the NFL Players Association, announced today a pair of new licensing agreements with Penguin Young Readers Group and Funko, LLC. The latest news was announced from Licensing Expo 2014 in Las Vegas. Penguin Young Readers Group, a global leader in children’s publishing, will create a series of amusing and entertaining NFL player inspired Mad Libs, chapter books, activity books and journals for children of all ages to enjoy. The agreement represents NFLPI’s first licensee in the children’s publishing category. Funko, recognized for its popular lines of fan collectibles, will feature active NFL players as part of the company’s officially licensed Pop! Vinyl figures and bobbleheads. PYRG pic2PenguinYoungReader_HP]]> NFLPI Adds Penguin Young Readers Group and Funko

LAS VEGAS, June 19, 2014 – NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the NFL Players Association, announced today a pair of new licensing agreements with Penguin Young Readers Group and Funko, LLC. The latest news was announced from Licensing Expo 2014 in Las Vegas.


Penguin Young Readers Group, a global leader in children’s publishing, will create a series of amusing and entertaining NFL player inspired Mad Libs, chapter books, activity books and journals for children of all ages to enjoy. The agreement represents NFLPI’s first licensee in the children’s publishing category.
Funko, recognized for its popular lines of fan collectibles, will feature active NFL players as part of the company’s officially licensed Pop! Vinyl figures and bobbleheads.

PYRG pic2PenguinYoungReader_HP

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Bengals Sign Will Svitek http://www.bakersports.com/articles/news/bengals-sign-will-svitek/ http://www.bakersports.com/articles/news/bengals-sign-will-svitek/#respond Wed, 11 Jun 2014 18:15:58 +0000 http://www.bakersports.com/?p=495 Will SvitekNBC Sports ProFootballTalk The Bengals have added a bit more depth on the offensive line. The team announced Wednesday that they have signed veteran tackle Will Svitek as a free agent. Svitek spent the 2013 season with the Patriots, playing 13 games and making a pair of starts during his one year in New England. He spent the previous three years with the Falcons, making 10 starts in 2011, and started his career with the Chiefs. Svitek’s addition gives the Bengals an alternative to Marshall Newhouse as the team’s backup to starting tackles Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith. Svitek also saw some time at guard for the Patriots in the preseason last year, adding some versatility that could help him make the team. The Bengals also announced the signing of cornerback Victor Hampton. They have released cornerback Brandon Burton and linebacker Bruce Taylor to make space on the roster.]]> Will SvitekNBC Sports ProFootballTalk

The Bengals have added a bit more depth on the offensive line.

The team announced Wednesday that they have signed veteran tackle Will Svitek as a free agent. Svitek spent the 2013 season with the Patriots, playing 13 games and making a pair of starts during his one year in New England. He spent the previous three years with the Falcons, making 10 starts in 2011, and started his career with the Chiefs.

Svitek’s addition gives the Bengals an alternative to Marshall Newhouse as the team’s backup to starting tackles Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith. Svitek also saw some time at guard for the Patriots in the preseason last year, adding some versatility that could help him make the team.

The Bengals also announced the signing of cornerback Victor Hampton. They have released cornerback Brandon Burton and linebacker Bruce Taylor to make space on the roster.

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Video: Shayne Skov Remembers His Roots in Mexico http://www.bakersports.com/articles/shayne-skov/shayne-skov-remembers-his-roots-in-mexico/ http://www.bakersports.com/articles/shayne-skov/shayne-skov-remembers-his-roots-in-mexico/#respond Tue, 20 May 2014 19:52:38 +0000 http://www.bakersports.com/?p=507
[video file="Shayne Skov Remembers Roots" autoplay="yes" preload="yes" width="641" height="355"]
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Shayne Skov 2013 All-American http://www.bakersports.com/articles/news/shayne-skov/ http://www.bakersports.com/articles/news/shayne-skov/#respond Tue, 20 May 2014 07:00:11 +0000 http://www.bakersports.com/?p=162 Shayne Skov Cover

Shayne Skov News and Videos

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Shayne Skov Cover

Video: Shayne Remembers His Roots in Mexico

Videos: Shayne February 2014 ESPN Deportes Super Bowl Interviews

Sports Business Journal Skov Card

Shayne’s New Upper Deck “Star Rookie” Card

Stanford Video Interview

It’s Harder Than You Think! (Video)

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Video: Shayne Skov – “Harder Than You Think” http://www.bakersports.com/articles/shayne-skov/shayne-skov-harder-than-you-think/ http://www.bakersports.com/articles/shayne-skov/shayne-skov-harder-than-you-think/#respond Mon, 12 May 2014 05:52:34 +0000 http://www.bakersports.com/?p=420 ]]>

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Browns sign Jim Dray to three-year deal http://www.bakersports.com/articles/news/browns-sign-jim-dray-to-three-year-deal/ http://www.bakersports.com/articles/news/browns-sign-jim-dray-to-three-year-deal/#respond Fri, 14 Mar 2014 05:47:43 +0000 http://www.bakersports.com/?p=447 13f808e1a32ae55aea4a1d66cc97ff8b ProFootballTalk Posted by Josh Alper on March 13, 2014, 2:57 PM EDTThe Browns saw Jordan Cameron put together a strong season as a receiving tight end in 2013 and they went out and got him a blocking-focused complement on Thursday. The team announced that they have signed former Cardinals tight end Jim Dray. The team announced no terms, but PFT has learned via a league source that it is a three-year deal worth $5.625 million in total value. $2.25 million of that is guaranteed and will all be paid in the first year of the pact.Dray was mostly used as a blocker during his four years with Arizona, but did a bit more pass catching in 2013. After catching seven passes over his first three seasons, Dray jumped up to 26 catches for 215 yards and two touchdowns.With Cameron already on the roster, the Browns probably won’t be looking for anything more than that out of Dray in the passing game as long as he helps clear holes in the run game and keeps pass rushers off the quarterback. Now the Browns just need to lock down the identity of the back who will be running through those holes and the quarterback that Dray will help protect. ]]> 13f808e1a32ae55aea4a1d66cc97ff8b
ProFootballTalk
Posted by Josh Alper on March 13, 2014, 2:57 PM EDTThe Browns saw Jordan Cameron put together a strong season as a receiving tight end in 2013 and they went out and got him a blocking-focused complement on Thursday.
The team announced that they have signed former Cardinals tight end Jim Dray. The team announced no terms, but PFT has learned via a league source that it is a three-year deal worth $5.625 million in total value. $2.25 million of that is guaranteed and will all be paid in the first year of the pact.Dray was mostly used as a blocker during his four years with Arizona, but did a bit more pass catching in 2013. After catching seven passes over his first three seasons, Dray jumped up to 26 catches for 215 yards and two touchdowns.With Cameron already on the roster, the Browns probably won’t be looking for anything more than that out of Dray in the passing game as long as he helps clear holes in the run game and keeps pass rushers off the quarterback. Now the Browns just need to lock down the identity of the back who will be running through those holes and the quarterback that Dray will help protect.

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Tight End Jim Dray Signs Three-Year Deal http://www.bakersports.com/articles/news/tight-end-jim-dray-signs-three-year-deal/ http://www.bakersports.com/articles/news/tight-end-jim-dray-signs-three-year-deal/#respond Thu, 13 Mar 2014 20:44:23 +0000 http://www.bakersports.com/?p=517 Akron Beacon Journal Passing reigns in today’s NFL, so many tight ends resist the “blocker” label. The Browns found one who actually seems to embrace it. They signed former Arizona Cardinals tight end Jim Dray as an unrestricted free agent Thursday, the team announced. A league source, speaking on condition of anonymity because terms of the deal were not announced, confirmed that Dray received a three-year, $5.625 million contract. Asked during a conference call whether he feels like he’s been unfairly labeled as a blocking tight end, Dray said, “Not really. I enjoy blocking. That’s traditionally what the tight ends are used for. I can also catch balls when they are thrown to me. It doesn’t bother me. “I like to think that I could execute every kind of block, out of the backfield, on line, on-line pass blocking, picking up blitzes, lead blocking, iso blocks.” His agent, Steve Baker, is quick to mention blocking, too. “The Browns as well as a number of a other teams were very aggressive over the weekend about wanting to sign him,” Baker said in a phone interview. “Jim is very much a multi-dimensional player in that he can play both tight end and H-back. While a number of people around the league have told me that he’s like having a sixth offensive lineman, he also has great hands.” Dray, 27, spent the past four seasons with the Cardinals. Last season, he started 15 games and had career highs with 26 catches, 215 receiving yards and two touchdowns. “I was given an opportunity to play quite a bit, when I hadn’t the other seasons,” Dray said. “I was able to catch a few balls and make some catches and play consistently, so that’s why I think it was my best season.” “I feel like I’m just scratching the surface, and I think I can do more,” Dray said. “You always have confidence in yourself that you can get the job done.” In 2010, the Cardinals drafted the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Dray in the seventh round out of Stanford University. He has started 18 of the 55 games in which he has appeared, compiling 33 catches for 302 yards and two touchdowns. Dray will join a tight ends corps led by Pro Bowler Jordan Cameron. The Browns also have Gary Barnidge, who served as Cameron’s primary backup last season, MarQueis Gray, Keavon Milton and Andre Smith on the roster. The Browns obviously won’t keep six tight ends heading into next season. Dray is not fazed by the numbers game, and he shouldn’t be. He believes new Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan makes good use of tight ends, and that he’ll be a good fit in the system. The Browns agree, and they hope they’re right.]]> From article in Akron Beacon Journal

Passing reigns in today’s NFL, so many tight ends resist the “blocker” label. The Browns found one who actually seems to embrace it.

They signed former Arizona Cardinals tight end Jim Dray as an unrestricted free agent Thursday, the team announced. A league source, speaking on condition of anonymity because terms of the deal were not announced, confirmed that Dray received a three-year, $5.625 million contract.

Asked during a conference call whether he feels like he’s been unfairly labeled as a blocking tight end, Dray said, “Not really. I enjoy blocking. That’s traditionally what the tight ends are used for. I can also catch balls when they are thrown to me. It doesn’t bother me.

“I like to think that I could execute every kind of block, out of the backfield, on line, on-line pass blocking, picking up blitzes, lead blocking, iso blocks.”

His agent, Steve Baker, is quick to mention blocking, too.

“The Browns as well as a number of a other teams were very aggressive over the weekend about wanting to sign him,” Baker said in a phone interview. “Jim is very much a multi-dimensional player in that he can play both tight end and H-back. While a number of people around the league have told me that he’s like having a sixth offensive lineman, he also has great hands.”

Dray, 27, spent the past four seasons with the Cardinals. Last season, he started 15 games and had career highs with 26 catches, 215 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

“I was given an opportunity to play quite a bit, when I hadn’t the other seasons,” Dray said. “I was able to catch a few balls and make some catches and play consistently, so that’s why I think it was my best season.”

“I feel like I’m just scratching the surface, and I think I can do more,” Dray said. “You always have confidence in yourself that you can get the job done.”

In 2010, the Cardinals drafted the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Dray in the seventh round out of Stanford University. He has started 18 of the 55 games in which he has appeared, compiling 33 catches for 302 yards and two touchdowns.

Dray will join a tight ends corps led by Pro Bowler Jordan Cameron. The Browns also have Gary Barnidge, who served as Cameron’s primary backup last season, MarQueis Gray, Keavon Milton and Andre Smith on the roster.

The Browns obviously won’t keep six tight ends heading into next season. Dray is not fazed by the numbers game, and he shouldn’t be. He believes new Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan makes good use of tight ends, and that he’ll be a good fit in the system. The Browns agree, and they hope they’re right.

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