Lost in the talk about the commencement of talks on a new contract for quarterback Joe Flacco is the fact that, while Flacco remains under contract for one more year, running back Ray Rice has an expired contract now.
A league source tells PFT that the Ravens and Rice have made no progress, which seems to make Rice a sure-fire candidate for the franchise tag.
Rice told PFT Live last month that he’ll be a Raven in 2012, which means that, if the Ravens use the franchise tag, he’ll likely sign it quickly and focus on getting ready for his fifth NFL season.
Still, it’s hard not to wonder whether another team decides to try to sign Rice away from the Ravens, since the price for an offer sheet that the Ravens choose not to match would be a pair of first-round draft picks. For currently teams at the bottom of the round (like the Patriots or the Giants, who play in Rice’s home state/area of New York/New Jersey) and likely to be in the same position next year, trading a pair of low first-round picks for a Pro Bowl talent still in the front end of his prime could be tempting.