Saturday, March 03, 2012

YOU ASKED, I ANSWERED: The Rice Franchise Tag

It appears as though Ray Rice is going to be franchised. Is this the right move? Can he buck the short productivity lifespan of running backs and what are the team's plans for depth at the position with Ricky Williams retiring?

Franchising Rice is the right move for the Ravens, particularly when his contractual demands are said to be knocking on the door of Adrian Peterson’s bloated contract. Peterson is a greater talent and let’s not forget that he was a beneficiary of circumstance. As part of an attempt to land a new stadium deal in Minnesota, Vikings’ owner Zygi Wilf wanted to lock up Peterson long-term. And while the deal may have been a good business move overall, it was a bad contract and mirroring that is just wrong for the Ravens on many levels.

Running backs are relatively inexpensive to replace. That’s not intended to discredit Rice’s ability but it’s just the nature of the game. One only needs to look at the top 6 backs this past season, none of which was a first round pick and none remotely close to earning AP dollars. Big running back deals just aren’t practical in the salary cap era. It would not surprise me at all to see the team franchise Rice again in 2013 and then move on to the post Rice era.

As for Ricky Williams, the club seems to be willing to go with second year back Anthony Allen as Rice’s backup with former Miami Hurricane Damien Berry in the wings – a 2011 practice squad player. But don’t be surprised if Williams “retirement” isn’t just a veteran ploy to circumvent the offseason conditioning program, OTA’s and part of training camp. My gut says that even the club sees his return as being a decent possibility


Jerry B said...

No question but that it's the right move in this era of free agency and salary caps. As previously noted, nobody manipulates those constraints better than Ozzie Newsome. Rice's salary is far from paltry and, assuming he continues to excell, he'll likely get his big payday eventually. That's just the reality of today's NFL.......

Baltimore Ravens Tickets said...

Well, having Rice is so far a good decision for the Ravens. It does cost the team too much at the same time he is also a good player. So, having him would be an asset for the team.