Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Extending Flacco & Rice won't be easy

The new contracts of Joe Flacco and Ray Rice won’t and shouldn’t come easy – easy would suggest that the Ravens overpaid.

This past November when Steve Bisciotti joined us on the Ravens Rap we asked the Ravens owner if it would take $40M guaranteed to sign Joe Flacco to an extension. Bisciotti said confidently that it won’t take that much.

During the State of the Ravens season ending presser, when questioned about Joe Flacco, Ozzie Newsome said that his measuring stick for Joe is wins. “Joe is a winner.” Surely Flacco’s agent Joe Linta was smiling when he heard that. Clearly his win-loss record will be Flacco’s lever in the negotiations.

Something to keep in mind…back in 2009 Eli Manning signed a new deal that included $35 million in guarantees. At the time Manning had one Super Bowl ring. We’ll see if inflation and those wins gets Flacco to that level. My guess is $35M is Flacco’s market rate.

As for Ray Rice, that deal might be a bit trickier. It’s difficult to give a back a big contract. Their career longevity just isn’t there and they are susceptible to career threatening/shortening injuries more so than others given their workload/touches. Plus a look around the league suggests that with the right offense and the right offensive line, value can be found at the position.

Not one of the league’s Top 6 backs is a first round pick nor do any of them have the whopping contracts of Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson. Three of the 6 are second round picks (Rice, LeSean McCoy and Maurice Jones-Drew), one is a third round pick (Frank Gore), one a fifth (Michael Turner) and the last an undrafted free agent (Arian Foster).

Rice’s representatives will point to the former Rutgers’ star’s productivity and vitality in the Ravens offense while the team’s negotiators will reference the above and then some. At the end of the day the Ravens will likely get it done and in this writer’s opinion they will overpay. Three years from now when the wear and tear grinds down on Rice’s body they’ll have learned their lesson despite one being right under their collective nose – Willis McGahee’s old contract.

Finally the Ravens have an exciting albeit challenging menu of opponents for the 2012 season. They will host both participants in Super Bowl XLVI along with media darling Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. You can check the entire list of 2012 opponents here.


Anonymous said...

Good analysis -- seems to me there's no way to predict -- it would be radical, but probably not something we couldn't overcome, to sign Flacco but not Rice. Rice is easier to replace, I hate to say it, but it's true. This year in the draft alone we could get Martin, D Wilson or L James, all of whom have at least some comparable skills to what Rice had coming out. BTW this is NC Raven, not sure how to comment here otherwise.

Jerry B said...

Never easy in today's NFL, but Ozzie Newsome has proven over the years to be as adept as anyone in navigating the "cap" obstacle course! Looking back over the years, with the possible exception of one or two players, the Ravens have never lost a player they truly coveted. And, most who have moved on failed to play at the level of performance when they were here. So, the mantra remains, "in Ozzie we trust".......

Anonymous said...

Screw Flacco, sign Brees!