Yesterday, just minutes before the 4 P.M. deadline, Ray Rice signed a 5 year, $40 million contract and Ravens fans were able to back away from the cliff a bit. Rice and his agent Todd France had been working with the Ravens all offseason (even while driving to the facility yesterday to sign the deal) in order to get this deal done and thank god they did.
Rice shed tears of joy as he signed the deal that would secure him for the rest of his life. It’s good to see Rice, who appears to be a pretty good guy, so happy and get such a good contract. He went about this whole negotiation process and offseason as a complete adult and professional. This doesn’t seem like it would be hard but in the NFL, this is hardly the norm.
I can’t tell you how much I wanted Drew Brees and Matt Forte to just shut their mouths and let their agents, who they hired to talk for them, actually do their jobs. Matt Forte wouldn’t shut up about the amount of loyalty he showed to the Bears and the lack of loyalty they had been showing him. And Drew Brees wouldn’t shut up about pretty much everything.
I mean, look at our own team in Ed Reed. Reed has lost the good graces of a lot of fans because he simply will not stop running his mouth. I don’t blame him for wanting more money and a new contract in the slightest bit. I would want the same thing in his position. But Ed, play out your current contract and then worry about it.
What players like Reed, Brees, and Forte need to realize though is, running to the media or talking about it on Twitter is not the way to go about it. Let the talks happen behind closed doors. I wouldn’t want everyone to know about me asking for a raise at my job.
Look, I don’t even blame a guy for sitting out of training camp or games but there comes a point where it becomes too public. You just shouldn’t criticize your boss in public when you aren’t getting what you want regardless of the profession you are in.
Ray Rice handled his contract exactly how a player should. He let his agent be the “bad guy” for him. Ray genuinely wanted to be back for training camp. He genuinely wanted to get a contract that would be fair for both him and the team (which is probably why he got more than Matt Forte). Rice never said a word about being mad at the team, never called anyone out, and most importantly, played out his original contract (see, Ed Reed).
It was reported that Rice and his agent were looking for money comparable to that of Adrian Peterson’s contract. Obviously, they didn’t get that so it’s easy to say they caved in at the last second. The reality is that they and everyone else knew they weren’t going to get that kind of money. They were merely negotiating. Todd France, Rice’s agent, said in an interview with Glenn Clark, “At the end of the day though it’s not about winning and losing. You seriously have to take it out of the equation. You can get very caught up on paperwork and very caught up on numbers. The kid just set up himself and his family for generation after generation.”
And that’s exactly it. It was never about getting the most possible money for Ray. He just wanted what was fair and to play football. He didn’t want this process to drag out. “That wasn’t his MO. You got some guys in the league that handle things differently. Ray, he is all about football,” said France.
Ray genuinely cares about the fans here in Baltimore, as exhibited by his constant charity work. He cares what people think about him. France said, “As he told me, I’ve never played this game for money, Todd. I don’t want it to be all about the money. I don’t want people to think I’m greedy.” Don’t worry Ray, we don’t. We are happy to have you in Baltimore for another five years.