Will Bart benefit from the Ray-Delay?

February 24, 2009 | Drew Forrester

The Ravens are in an interesting position as mid-week approaches.

They have two players on the defensive side of the ball that are going to be of interest to other teams in the league if either – or both – become free agents on Friday at 12:01 am.

Will some team in the league PAY either Ray Lewis or Bart Scott on Friday if they’re available?  That, of course, is the big question for both of them.

However, there’s a bigger question lurking for the Ravens as Friday’s big-day approaches.

Can they afford to lose BOTH players?

As it stands now, the only other defensive player the team might lose via free agency is part-time-safety-turned-fan-favorite Jim Leonhard.  Like most everyone reading this, I became a Jim Leonhard fan last season.  But, let’s be honest here: Part-time safety=Starbucks coffee shops.  There’s one in every supermarket.  Losing Jim Leonhard wouldn’t be a major blow to the Ravens hopes for 2009.   And I say that with all due respect to Leonhard.  And, the Ravens have two Jim Leonhard-wanna-be’s in Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura.  That’s why they drafted those guys.  Play ‘em next season.

Back to Scott and Lewis.

The Ravens probably feel as if they’re going to lose ONE of them.  They may have resigned themselves to that already.  Fair enough.  You can’t keep ‘em all. 

But, again, what if they lose BOTH of them?

They don’t have to.

They could re-sign Bart Scott before Friday morning. 

What’s it going to take?

I don’t know that.

But, here’s what I DO know.

If Ray Lewis becomes a free agent on Friday at 12:01 am, Bart Scott’s price tag in Baltimore goes up. 

Right now, in fact, Bart’s price is probably inching forward with every hour that Ray remains unsigned.

Think about it:  If you’re Bart, don’t you feel as if your value to the Ravens is somewhat connected to whether or not Ray signs here? 

If Ray signs, there goes a big chunk of money that Bart COULD have had.

If Ray goes away, Bart can sit back and say to the Ravens, “NOW, I know you have the money for me.  But it’s going to cost you more than it would have at this time last week.”

If I’m reading the situation correctly as it stands now, Ray Lewis is going to be a free agent this Friday at 12:01am.  Why wouldn’t Ray just wait it out now and try to strike gold on Friday, right?  Why wait 13 years to be a free agent and then not at least get a taste of it on Friday?

So, if I’m the Ravens, and I’m assuming Ray is going to be free on Friday, wouldn’t it be in the team’s best interest to go ahead and sign Bart Scott right now?  As in, sign him between now and Friday?  After all, we don’t have any clear cut indications that Ray wants to be back in purple next year.  Bart has said time and time again he’d like to stay in Baltimore if the right deal can be struck. 

Sign the man.

I’m not saying it’s time to give up on bringing Ray back. 

Not at all.

This game is in Ray’s court, now.  The Ravens have done what they felt was fair, by offering him a $12 million signing bonus and additional per-season monies on a multi-year contract.  Should they have locked #52 up last summer before he went out and had a rock-star season in ’08?  Well, duh, of course.  But, they didn’t. 

And now, Ray is control.

But, Ray’s only in control if teams want him on Friday and if those teams are interested in paying him more than Baltimore is willing to pay him.

In the meantime, the Ray-Delay is helping Bart Scott make more money if he plays his cards right over the next couple of days.

And, if you’re the Ravens, wouldn’t it be smart to lock up Bart in the next 48 hours and let Ray start his World Tour on Friday?

After all, losing one of them is sort of expected.

Losing both of them, though, would be a major blow.

Lastly, has anyone seen Jason Brown?

He wants to be paid too.

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