Your Monday Reality Check-Shouldn’t Rice & Flacco deals have been done by now?

June 04, 2012 | Glenn Clark

It was as if there were some in the sports broadcasting universe that wanted to remind me that the Baltimore Orioles have been struggling mightily as of late.

Sure, they’re just one game out of first place at the time I type this, but the Birds sadly appear to be in a downward spiral that unfortunately most of us expected.

I’ve been a regular “Baltimore expert” for SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio since the channel’s inception, and I rotate having conversations with hosts about the O’s and the Baltimore Ravens. When I received a call last week asking me to appear on the channel, I assumed the conversation would go in the direction of the O’s, as I’ve made about four Orioles-related guest spots already this season.

But when the producer asked me if I’d be interested in talking some Ravens football, I was admittedly caught off guard. “It’s still baseball season” I thought. Just one night later I received a call from another producer on the channel, also asking me to make an appearance to discuss the Purple & Black.

So on both Friday & Saturday night of this past weekend I found myself talking Ravens football across the country on SXM. It was perhaps the single greatest reminder that in Charm City, a “June Swoon” is a great reminder that Training Camp isn’t particularly far away.

As the 2011 football season ended, there were two main narratives surrounding the defending AFC North Champs. One was surrounding the pending free agency of RB Ray Rice. The other surrounded the future of QB Joe Flacco, who was set to enter the final year of his rookie contract. The Ravens’ season ended 132 days ago in Foxborough (at least as of the time I wrote this) and yet seemingly little progress has been made regarding either situation.

It leads to the question (at least for me), “what’s taking so long to get this stuff done?”

ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio said in a recent appearance on “The Reality Check” (an excellent afternoon radio program on AM1570 that Rice’s agent Todd France was dead set on getting a deal similar to contracts given to Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (seven years, $100 million with $36 million guaranteed) or Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson (four years, $53 million with $30 million guaranteed). The Ravens are believed to be more interested in a deal similar to those recently given to Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (five years, $45 million with $20.76 million guaranteed) or Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (five years, $43.5 million with $20.75 guaranteed).

On top of that, a source with knowledge of talks revealed to me in recent weeks the Rice camp has a desire to see the running back’s deal exceed the overall value of Flacco’s.

A Carroll County Times report this weekend indicated the Ravens “aren’t anywhere close” to getting a deal done with Flacco. Flacco’s negotiating ability has been limited by the fact that contracts signed by quarterbacks not named Peyton Manning this offseason have been less than overwhelming financially. Manning landed a five year, $96 million deal, but if he’s healthy the Denver Broncos believe him capable of being Peyton Manning. The highlights of other QB contracts this offseason have been San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith (three years, worth up to $33 million with with $16.5 million guaranteed) and Seattle Seahawks QB Matt Flynn (three years, $26 million with $10 million guaranteed).

Neither deal is helpful to Flacco’s agent Joe Linta, although despite all of the goofy conversation nationally about Flacco’s standing against other National Football League quarterbacks, there simply could not be any argument either of those two quarterbacks have accomplished as much as Flacco. Humorously, Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo’s deal is up a season after Flacco’s. There had been rumors the Chicago Bears were interested in getting a new deal done with QB Jay Cutler, a decision that could have been helpful in figuring out the parameters of a Flacco contract.

Remember when I asked “what’s taking so long to get this stuff done?” Yeah, I’m aware that I’ve essentially answered my own question.

In both of my chats on SiriusXM this weekend I was asked what expected would ultimately happen with these situations. It was remarkably difficult to answer.

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. john schultheis Says:

    Fantasy is your area just like my co-writer Ken so stick to that! The reason the deals are not getting done are several. It starts with dead money and cap space and the way the Ravens have spend money for years. But then it leads into the area you touched on, agents and players thoughts on how much they are worth compared to market value. Rice will never get Peterson money and he,Peterson, should not have either. When an owner over pays a player than, all good players want and think they are just as good and want that kind of money. Flacco too is the same way, He thinks he is a top 5 qb,HE”S NOT! All top 5 qbs have won Super Bowls some more than one,Flacco has yet to make aSuper Bowl appearence. The Ravens have too amny players that need long term deals with not enough cap room. I know how the cap works so don’t think you need to explain how you free money. You do but the player better not get hurt or comit a crime because all up front money is now due in cap hit and dead money. So the bottom line is they can’t get a deal done now unless players agree to market value!

  2. waspman Says:

    The “greater good” of trying to repeat as SB winners in 2001 led to a season with injuries to Leon Searcy and Jamal Lewis followed by The Purge that included a broken promise to Elvis Grbac.

    Money can only be spent once and with the cap, not even necessarily when you want to spend it. Forget when the franchise tags were implemented since no one knows for sure what the players wanted (like now times two), look at the contracts Ozzie Newsome & Co. have actually gotten done. Almost always, they were slotted logically within the cap and within the talents of that player. Even the best players have received the best money.

    At this point, I can draw no other conclusion than the front office is offering a proper contract given what both players have brought and probably will bring to the table. The Ravens have been above board and sensible since the Grbac debacle, and the ownership was different then.

    Pay “extra” to both just to get the deals done will make some people wonder what the “greater good” is when a decent lineman becomes available but the cash-strapped Ravens can’t pull the trigger. The funny thing about the “greater good” being defined as giving in with contract negotiations in order to defend the AFC North title is Joe Flacco and Ray Rice will be just as much a part of the equation for 2012 with or without a contract extension each.

    Absolutely no point is being made as to what the advantage is for the Ravens to pay that magical “extra.” Any extra cap room that might be massaged into the extensions will be eaten up by the extra itself, or there will be future dead money galore. (I’m sure the “greater good” will be redefined then, too.) And if these negotiations make fans and sports doodles panic inro a frenzy, imagine what will happen when the line forms for those players who want their “extra.”

    The scenario will play out stunningly simple if neither Flacco nor Rice signs. Both will play in 2012 and add (or deduct) from their resume. Flacco is under contract. Rice will make $7M-plus in guaranteed money, which is the same signing bonus money.

    2013 will depend heavily on what happened to these two in 2012. If something bad happened to either, they can say, “Oops!” to their failure to sign what was in front of them. If one has a good year, they will have the inside track in negotiations over the other but might face the franchise tag (again in Rice’s case). If both have a good year, Flacco will be the keeper of the two because a franchise QB is much more important than a franchise RB.

    And let’s face it. If Flacco is the franchise QB for the 2010’s, he shouldn’t need a RB of the caliber of Rice. How often do teams with franchise RB’s win the Super Bowl without having a franchise QB? Walter Peyton in 1985. Anyone else?

    But the real answer as to why nothing has been signed is because there is no deadline on the horizon. Even if the Ravens agreed to the “extra,” the player who is in no hurry will want an extra “extra.” What “greater good” will that serve?

    (Edit from Glenn: Completely off base comparing deals for Rice and Flacco to the moves in 2001-2002. The team made moves then KNOWING a purge would come. They made the decision that a purge was acceptable. Giving long term deals to these two would not create the need for any sort of “purge”, and they have money coming off the books in the form of Ed Reed and an option to create money with Anquan Boldin. You’re also working under the concept that there is some world of “extra.” Your belief of “extra” in the case of Rice is simply market value. If the Ravens don’t want to pay Ray Rice the same money AP or CJ got, that’s their choice-but they don’t get to set the market. The market has been set. Either you pay in that range or not. You don’t get to redefine market value based on what you want it to be. If you think the player is off on his market value, you ultimately let him find that out. The 49ers gambled with Smith and won. The Ravens will have the right to do the same with Flacco if they choose. They MIGHT win, considering Flacco hasn’t yet guaranteed he has franchise value. They wouldn’t win with Rice.

    But throwing around the word “extra” is just silly. At no point did I ever say the team should pay more than what the players are worth. The problem is that they can’t pretend in Rice’s case that he isn’t worth major money based on the market and they have to be willing to assume no one else in the NFL would want Joe Flacco. There’s a slight possibility of that, which is why the Flacco situation could end up playing out until after next season. But if it does, there’s a great amount of risk involved.

    The smartest thing you said was part of what I pointed out. There is no deadline…yet. There will be one July 16 for Rice which will force someone’s hand. Flacco simply won’t have one.)

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