As soon as I heard the “we don’t have plans for Jason Brown” quote yesterday, I scratched my head and thought to myself, “why would Ozzie tell Jason Brown’s agent something like that?”
Answer: He didn’t.
I suspected such…and then contacted a couple of Ravens sources on Thursday and both of them echoed the same thought. “Why would Ozzie tell Jason Brown he doesn’t fit into our plans when we’ve been telling him all along that we want him back in Baltimore?”
That’s how I looked at it too.
Why, on the eve of free agency, would the Ravens aggravate Brown and his agent by telling them, essentially, “we’ve been fibbing to you for the last month and not negotiating in good faith with you.” (???)
It didn’t make sense yesterday and it doesn’t make sense today.
I’m not sure what Brown’s agent THOUGHT he heard from Ozzie and I’m not sure what he then translated to Jason thereafter, but I’m hearing from a source that it went something like this:
Ozzie (on Wednesday): “That’s our offer. If you want to make it happen at those numbers, we can get this done now. If you’re not willing to move off of your figure, you should probably just go ahead and test the market on Friday.”
That does NOT mean “you’re not in our plans”.
It means, “We can’t agree on a contract right now and we’ll just agree on that…and you can go ahead and test the market on Friday. If you get an offer from another team and would like to bring it back to us, we’ll gladly look at it. If you get an offer from another team and you want to sign it, we understand and we’ll miss you.”
That’s business in the NFL.
Jason Brown might very well sign somewhere else today. I almost expect it.
But, when he does, it will be because he got a better deal somewhere else.
The Ravens still want him as part of their franchise.
At their price.