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

June 04, 2012 | Glenn Clark

It’s easy to see Rice’s situation play out similarly to Johnson’s last season with the Titans. While the Ravens don’t want to give him ridiculous money, they’re not known as an organization willing to sacrifice the greater good-in this case the hopes of defending a division title and reaching the Super Bowl-to win individual battles with players. The Ravens don’t want to give away unfavorable contracts, but they know Rice was responsible for roughly 38% (2,068 total yards) of their total offensive yards (5,419) in 2011. They also know they’d like to improve on their total offensive numbers moving forward, especially considering the loss of reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs for at least roughly half of the season.

While the team has said all the right things with Rice away from OTA’s, Rice’s camp has made it clear a holdout will be an option if a new deal isn’t reached before the July 16 deadline that would force Ray Rice to play for the $7.7 million franchise tag in 2012. Despite drafting Temple RB Bernard Pierce in the third round of the NFL Draft, the team knows a prolonged holdout does not serve to help their immediate goals. It wouldn’t be the first time the Ravens failed to have a deal done with a franchise player before the start of the season (OL Wally Williams never got a long term deal, LB Suggs & CB Chris McAlister each had to receive the tag a second time before a deal got done and just last season DT Haloti Ngata didn’t get his long term deal done until after the start of the regular season), but the situation seems different this time.

The main argument against giving a RB a long term deal is the volatile nature of the position. Waiting another season to give Rice a deal would seemingly work against the knowledge that Running Backs no longer improve with age. Another big season would make Rice’s demands no less forgiving for the team with 16 or more games of “tread” potentially off his tires.

The Titans were ultimate able to get the Johnson deal done by lessening the value of the deal per season but ultimately signing off on a greater amount of guaranteed money. My best guess is that something similar happens with Rice, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it took awhile. Waiting until after July 16 would be a mistake in my view, but I’m just a goof with a laptop and a microphone in front of my face.

The Flacco situation is significantly more difficult to figure out. The Ravens do not have to give Flacco a deal before the season for any reason, other than the reason that teams generally don’t like seeing their franchise quarterbacks go into the final year of a contract. That is unless you’re the New Orleans Saints. If you’re the Saints, you’re apparently unaware that the only difference between your franchise and complete irrelevance is one player. I’ll leave that alone now.

The Ravens and Flacco have no easy place to negotiate from at the moment. The Flacco camp is trying to establish a value based on team accomplishments while General Manager Ozzie Newsome and company can use personal statistics as a balance to lessen the perceived value of the man who not too long ago told me he believed he was “the best quarterback in the NFL.”

The Ravens want to negotiate based on what Flacco has accomplished thus far. Linta wants to negotiate based on what the Ravens want Flacco to accomplish in the future. With no deadline whatsoever, it’s difficult to determine a point where the situation would come to a head.

I think the Ravens should be bold and give Flacco a significant deal. I’m saying that as a man who thought twice about spending $225 on a whole pig to roast this weekend. The Ravens hap cap issues already. There’s something to be said for putting pressure on Flacco to get the job done in his contract year knowing a franchise tag could always prevent departure next year.

I’d avoid that. If Joe Flacco is your franchise quarterback, give him a deal that reflects that. I believe he IS that guy and I think the organization agrees.

We’ve reached June. We’re within two months of the start of Training Camp. We’re approaching a season where a team that has accomplished a great deal in recent seasons faces difficult questions about their ability to equal those accomplishments or surpass them. Their greatest defensive players (Suggs, Ngata, S Ed Reed and LB Ray Lewis) are either old, injured, coming of an injury or some combination of all three. Their two most significant offense players are in the throws of contract issues.

Oh and the Orioles have lost 10 out of their last 13 games.

Happy start of summer everyone?

Carry on.


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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