Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Could Ray Lewis be Dunn with the Ravens?


If there is anyone who loves Ray Lewis more than Ray Lewis, it’s Ozzie Newsome and that love will be put to the test like never before this offseason. Ozzie’s affinity for Ray and his battle tested credo of “right player, right price” are on a direct collision course and something has got to give.

Lewis doesn’t sound like anyone who is willing to give a hometown discount to Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti despite their off the field friendship. But then again you can certainly understand it if Lewis feels compelled to take such a public posture. After all this is undoubtedly the last substantive contract that he will receive and he needs to create some negotiating leverage. Wearing his heart on his sleeve will do little for Ray at the proverbial poker table.

Perhaps fueling the fires to maintain such a non-partisan stance is Lewis’ agent David Dunn. Dunn replaces Lewis’ long time dynamic duo agents Eugene Parker and Roosevelt Barnes. The hiring of Dunn is a bit puzzling. Dunn was suspended by the NFLPA back in 2003 for two years for trying to steal clients from his former partner, Leigh Steinberg. Yet Dunn continues to attract blue chip clients.

If an agent is a proven liar and a cheat, why would Ray or any other player agree to sign on? Well, maybe Dunn agreed to take a smaller fee. Maybe he made promises to Ray and Ray like what Dunn had to say more than Parker and Barnes.

Either way Dunn has to deliver.

What if all Dunn can do for Ray is exactly what Barnes and Parker realistically suggested before they got the boot? An agent with an NFLPA rap sheet fails to deliver on a promise. Not the sort of thing Dunn wants on his resume going forward, right? As a result it is unlikely that the discussions with Ray will reach a happy ending before he officially becomes a free agent unless either Dunn or Ozzie gets cold feet and caves.

The number I keep hearing is $20 million guaranteed and $30 million total over 3 years. Does Ray have 3 Pro Bowl years left? Does it matter given the intangibles that Ray brings?

Clearly it’s a very difficult task for Ozzie but like Ray, Ozzie can’t wear his heart on his sleeve while the cards are being dealt either. And this offseason, there are several sitting at that poker table vying for more chips.
Photo by Sabina Moran

4 comments :

Jerry B said...

Great article, TL! Ray probably does have another 3 good, All Pro caliber years left in him. Not only is he coming off one of his best seasons in years, but no one conditions himself mentally or physically as well as he does. He's a 33 year old who performs like a much younger player! When you throw in those numerous intangibles, including the leadership and credibilty he brings, he's worth the kind of money he's seeking, particularly if the competition is willing to pay it! Besides, Ray is unique enough that the "right player at the right price" argument shouldn't apply!

I don't understand how the "salary cap" works, but there are teams, most notably the Redskins and Cowboys, who seem to throw money around every year without incurring "cap" problems. Bart Scott probably is the most expendable, but he took less money initially in gratitude for the Ravens giving him a chance to play and he may be willing to do so again.

Greg Gummer said...

Tony,



Thanks so much for the insight regarding Ray Lewis as well as Scott, Suggs and Jason Brown. You are correct. Ozzie has some real tough decisions to make. Will the Ravens be better with Lewis or keeping Scott, Suggs and signing the Raider corner if he becomes available? Lets also not forget about a veteran wide receiver should someone get cut. Whatever he does, I sincerely put my faith in Ozzie, Vince and Eric to do the job. This is not a Rod Woodson moment when the Steeler’s Tom Donahue said he was too old. Lewis can still play but to invest that level of funds to keep him when we have others needs. Those needs if fulfilled correctly could put us back in the playoffs again-easily!



Tough choices-



Great site!

Brandon said...

Ray Lewis is the best linebacker of this generation...by far. It would be a HUGE loss for the ravens if they didnt sign him back. I read another article showing all the reasons they need to sign him. Its very good.

http://www.gotoguy.com/2009/02/05/nfl-free-agency/

Anonymous said...

Well if what i have read is the truth and not the media hypeing it up ..then i will truely have lost a TON of respect for both the MAN and the player. I under stand Money rules this biz.. so i dont try to act like i know how it all works but.. in a age were football players charecter seems to play alot more of a role..shouldnt the same besaid for the orginization..I mean here is a guy who was on trial at one point for murder and what did this Team do..its owner, Art at the time, stood right next to Ray the whole way and never ever doubted him..That my friends is real loyalty...so now Art is gone replaced by Steve ..who i have meet and got to know over my teen years due to my job.. and let me tell you ..he is the same class act and respects Ray the same as Art did those many years ago..and for that Ray wants to take a Ton of money from some other orginization where he would just be a name on the roster??? I mean Ray has amassed more money than most of us will ever see..and all he wants is the biggest paycheck he can get?? I think Ray need to Wake up and relize the only place he can be Ray Lewis the legend is in Baltimore..otherwise the man i share a birthday with will be just that ..just another guy whos Reputation will forver be tarnished by greed...