Ravens coach John Harbaugh went on the radio Thursday to discuss the futures of a couple of the team’s big free agents.
Harbaugh told Jerry Coleman of 105.7 The Fan, in an interview transcribed by the Ravens website, that said that the team feels Ben Grubbs and Marshal Yanda given them a duo of guards as good as any in the league. Yanda signed a five-year, $32.5 million contract last season and Harbaugh said that the team plans to pay Grubbs “as such” to keep the tandem together.
“We’ve offered – I don’t know if we’ve offered it yet – but we’re in negotiations of offering a lot of money,” Harbaugh said. “We’re going to really make a run at Ben.”
It is unusual to see NFL teams invest that much money in the guard position, which is why many have assumed that Grubbs will be playing somewhere else next season. The Ravens would have a hard time replacing Grubbs’ production, their line struggled when he was injured last season, and may find it makes more sense to keep him while using the draft to fill other needs before next season.
One of the reasons why Grubbs is such an important piece for the Ravens is his ability to open holes for running back Ray Rice. Rice is also a potential free agent and it seems like the team is heading toward using the franchise tag on him before the March 5th deadline. Doing that has led to holdouts for some players in the past, but Harbaugh doesn’t think that’s going to be a problem with Rice.
“In all honesty, I’d be surprised just knowing Ray because I know how much he loves football,” Harbaugh said. :I think he understands there’s no leverage to be gained by doing that.”
Rice hasn’t said anything publicly to indicate he’d hold out if he’s tagged and, based on Harbaugh’s comments, there haven’t been any private statements to that effect either.