With Baltimore Ravens training camp less than two weeks away, the talk in Baltimore has turned to Ray Rice and his contract. The deadline is approaching fast, 4pm Monday, July 16 will be here very soon and fans are keeping their fingers crossed that Rice will sign a new deal before the deadline.
Some have a pessimistic view of the situation including CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora. On Friday he spoke with BaltimoreRavens.com Ryan Mink and speculated there is a 25% chance that a new contract gets done before the deadline, but that is subject to change.
However Rice feels differently, he is ‘optimistic’ that a new deal gets done. As reported by NFL.com Rice said:
“I’ll always keep it real for you, but I’m always optimistic,” Rice told the Carroll County Times. “God has put me in a position where not too many people can say they’ve been. I never played for the dollars and all of that other stuff.”
If Rice does not sign a new contract before the deadline, he will have to wait until the next off-season to work out a new deal. Rice would be paid $7.742 million under the franchise tag and would likely skip training camp and all preseason games to avoid injury.
Historically the Ravens have been able to reach deals with their star players including Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and most recently Haloti Ngata.
For the deal to get done, Rice and the Ravens need to compromise on the length and amount of the contract. It is unknown how far apart they are, details have not been released.
If a deal is reached by the deadline, it will likely mirror the contracts of other star running backs including Houston Texans Arian Foster (5 year/$43.5 million/$20.8 guaranteed) and Philadelphia Eagles LeSean McCoy (5 year/$45.6 million/$20.8 guaranteed).
The worst case scenario, which has yet to happen, but technically could is that Rice is signed by another team. This is based on terms by the new collective bargaining agreement where according to ProFootballTalk.com:
Lost in the details regarding the operation of the franchise tag, the transition tag, and the various restricted free agency tenders is the fact that, while restricted free agents go off the market before the draft, franchise and transition players remain available to be signed into May and beyond.
I want to believe that a new deal can get done by the deadline, but I am a realist and I would be surprised if it got done on time.
I don’t like the thought of Rice not being at training camp or participating in preseason games, however I follow him on Twitter and I know he’s stayed in shape this off-season, but I worry about what his absence could mean for the offense.
Since I have no control over the situation, I will sit back and wait to see what happens. The loud ticking of the clock is hurting my head and I am praying for a happy ending.