Ravens expected to be without two key contributors for start of offseason program

April 13, 2012 | Luke Jones

Ravens expected to be without two key contributors for start of offseason program

The Ravens will officially open their Owings Mills facility for the start of their offseason workout program on Monday, but they shouldn’t expect to see two key starters waiting at the door.

Running back Ray Rice and starting cornerback Cary Williams are not expected to attend the voluntary workouts that will begin on Monday. Many veterans are typically absent at the start of the workouts, but the absences of both Rice and Williams stem from the status of their respective contracts.

After receiving the franchise tag in early March, Rice and agent Todd France have gotten nowhere with the Ravens in long-term contract negotiations and is not expected to attend organized team activities without a new contract. The two-time Pro Bowl back is currently scheduled to play with the $7.7 million franchise tender should the sides fail to reach an agreement on a new contract by July 15, and it’s possible he would decide to hold out during training camp without a new deal in place.

Meanwhile, Williams was given a second-round tender as a restricted free agent, which would pay him a $1.92 million salary for the 2012 season. Williams’ agent Marc Lillibridge also represents Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb, who signed a six-year, $50 million contract last week, so it’s interesting to speculate how that might have impacted the sides’ negotiations regarding a new deal for Williams.

Attempts to reach Lillibridge for comment were unsuccessful.

Williams is not expected to sign his restricted tender for a few more weeks, according to the NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora. However, the 6-foot-1 corner would probably not benefit from holding out considering the Ravens drafted Jimmy Smith in the first round of last year’s draft. Restricted free agents have until June 15 to sign the offered tender or the team may reduce the tendered amount to 110 percent of last year’s salary while still retaining the rights to the player.

Neither Rice nor Williams is required to report for voluntary workouts and are currently not under contract.

The Ravens have not yet announced the dates for their mandatory minicamp.

In other news, La Canfora reported the Ravens have made a “conservative” one-year offer to center-guard Jason Brown, who played in Baltimore from 2005 to 2008. Most recently with the St. Louis Rams, Brown was released earlier this offseason and was benched at one point last season due to ineffective play.

The Ravens are an estimated $1.9 million under the salary cap, meaning any offer to Brown or another veteran interior lineman would likely barely exceed the league minimum for veterans.

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