Friday, February 06, 2009

Ray Lewis v. The Ravens: A high stakes game of poker

I have been receiving several phone calls, emails, text messages and instant messages with one thing in common – Ray Lewis. The hometown folk are getting a little nervous.


It’s all part of the process.

Ray Lewis isn’t stupid. He’s playing the role the right way and I’m sure he’s getting some coaching from agent David Dunn. He might even have some accomplices like the NFL Network’s Jamie Dukes. It’s all about creating leverage and the more interest Ray Lewis has, either real or conjured, the more chips he can take to the poker table.

Who among you watched that interview of Ray and Dukes and didn’t walk away thinking the entire thing was staged – right down to the neutral all-white Boston Red Sox cap. Not sure? Then have another look here.

Some may be panicking. Some of you may be clamoring for the Ravens to offer Ray the deal he wants right now BEFORE he hits the open market. But then the advantage goes to Ray because at this point the sides are so far apart that they need the sanity check and that is exactly what the open market will provide.

Let’s face it, Ray is somewhat of an enigma. He isn’t supposed to be this productive after 13 physical NFL seasons at middle linebacker. Yet he keeps on going but for how long? Do the Ravens pay him for what he’s done in the past or for what he will do in the future? Do they treat him differently because he’s the team leader and the face of the Ravens? Where does the bidding begin?

You see that is the real problem in the equation – what is the starting point. Ray believes that he has another five years to play and he wants another $20 million guaranteed. History says Ray is delirious and that 34 year old linebackers just aren’t that productive.

So why should the Ravens bid against themselves? Let Ray see what others are willing to offer him. If the Cowboys or Jets offer Ray the number he is seeking, don’t you think that David Dunn will bring that offer back to Ozzie Newsome before Ray signs on the dotted line? Of course he will he has everything to gain and nothing to lose. And then there’s a good chance that the number Dunn actually lands is somewhere between what the Ravens have already offered and what Dunn is asking today.

You just have to let this play out.

No blinking allowed!

Steve Bisciotti has built his fortune in part on his ability to negotiate. So let him negotiate. Let him play the high stakes poker game.

At the end of the proverbial day, Ray Lewis will be going nowhere and when he does return, all the talk about T.O. and Brett Favre will be quickly forgotten.

In the meantime, take a deep breath and enjoy the game of Baltimore Hold 'Em.


Jerry B said...

Good advice, TL! Actually, I think the reason Ozzie didn't wrap Ray up before the season started is because he was coming off of two injury plagued years and they weren't really sure he'd get back to the dominant force he once was, considering the age factor. But.....not only did he make it all the way back, he had a monster year that was, arguably, one of his best ever! So, the "pay him for past performance" theory doesn't hold water in Ray's case because as you point out, he is an enigma, continuing to perform at the top of his game And, that's what his next contract will be based on!

I agree that once he tests the market and a "fair market value" is determined, it will then be incumbent on the Ravens to match it, which I feel they must do for that defense to remain a dominant force the next few years. You know it; I know it; and, more importantly, they know it!

So, let the process play itself out as you suggest and then........stay tuned!

Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29 FEB 7th
I want to AGREE, with JERRY B, but being a common-sense type of guy that I am: I say, Ray and Mr.. Dunn, if you can get the GREEN, elsewhere? Go for it.
...My theory has been all along, that when our dominant Baltimore defense aged, the baton would be turned over to the Offense. The Ravens drafted JOE FLACCO to improve the team on the other side of the BALL. I think Joe will help the team do just that!...My belief is that the team desperately needs help in the receiving department and the perfect match is waiting in Arizona;
Anquan Boldin # 81! From what I hear, it takes a wide receiver longer to develop in the NFL than any other position? Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong? Boldin would look great on the other end of those Long Passes that Mason and Clayton, just could not get to or haul in during the past year. Ozzie, make the Right move, you have enough linebackers in house to replace Ray; Go for it on OFFENSE...PUHLEEEEZE!!!

Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29 FEB 7th 3:30 pm
...Tony.. you are on the Ball.. I picked up a copy of the NEW YORK POST on Friday...just because I saw the Back of the paper with Ray dressed in GREEN.
... IMHO...GREEN may be what Ray wants...but he looks Much Better in PURPLE.
..AGain...OZZIE .remember one word.RECEIVERS !!!
PS..Can your site creator give us the HTML ability to put COLORS in our BLOGS?

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling Ray may not even give the Ravens a chance to match his best offer. He was on record as telling WNST it "could all be done in 5 minutes" once he hits the market.

Bart Scott would seem to be the best fit to replace Ray, so let's hope his situation drags out until after Ray decides.