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Ray Rice braces for the franchise tag

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice runs in for a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half of play in their NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati Reuters

A full week into the window for using the franchise tag, no player has yet to be on the receiving end of a pair of multi-million-dollar handcuffs.  Though Ravens running back Ray Rice may not be the first, it’s looking more and more inevitable that, eventually, it’ll happen.

“We obviously know the tag is coming,” agent Todd France told Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times.  “But we will continue to have open dialogue and see if we can come to a long-term agreement, which is the preference for both sides.”

And so, at some point in the next week, Rice will receive an offer of a one-year, $7.7 million contract.  The next question will be whether he’ll sign the tender while negotiations continue, or whether he’ll hold out.  Coach John Harbaugh thinks/hopes he won’t.

“I would be surprised, just knowing Ray and I know how much he loves football,” Harbaugh recently said, via Chris Korman of the Baltimore Sun.  “I think he understands there’s not leverage to be gained by doing that.

“Guys who’ve done that haven’t come out and played well.  That would never be the way to get a contract here.  That’s not how the Ravens have operated.”

That may be the case, but there’s definitely leverage to be gained via a denial of services — and Harbaugh knows it.  Rice isn’t under contract, and he can show up days before the start of the regular season and still get the full amount of the franchise tender.

Though Rice likely wouldn’t hold out, there’s a certain amount of risk in verbally strong-arming him.  The Ravens surely would prefer to take it year-by-year for now, given that Rice plays a position that typically entails injury, sometimes serious.  Rice surely would prefer the protection against injury that comes with a long-term deal.

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31 Responses to “Ray Rice braces for the franchise tag”
  1. britishraven says: Feb 27, 2012 6:58 PM

    Pay da man

    I dread to think what our offense would be without him having been in training camp. Who does Flacco throw the checkdowns to? Vontae Leach?

  2. donny1rodriguez says: Feb 27, 2012 6:59 PM

    ozzie ain’t no fool

  3. diegiantsdie says: Feb 27, 2012 7:00 PM

    just pay the man. hes the reason the offense scored points and moved the ball. give him what he wants and move on

  4. andrejohnsonforpresident says: Feb 27, 2012 7:07 PM

    Vontae Leach is a monster out of the backfield. They used to call him Vontae Pillow Hands Leach in Houston… Alright not really but still, they gotta sign this guy.

  5. The Buffer Zone says: Feb 27, 2012 7:12 PM

    He will get paid and he will get paid well.

    He will also not hold out while the contract is getting figured out. He wouldn’t let his “big brother” Ray Lewis down like that knowing the window is closing.

  6. clownsfan says: Feb 27, 2012 7:13 PM

    He’s the only offensive player on that roster worth Top 5 $$$. Period.

  7. cliffordc05 says: Feb 27, 2012 7:15 PM

    The Ravens have to make a deal with Rice. There is a reasonable deal to be made for both sides. Very similar to the situation in Seattle with Lynch.

  8. rob0527 says: Feb 27, 2012 7:17 PM

    Sign the guy already, don’t disrespect him.

  9. KIR says: Feb 27, 2012 7:20 PM

    I laugh at these football experts who want to compare an entire O Line to 1 RB. Of course 5 players are more important than 1 RB. Now tell me which O Lineman on the Ravens is more important than Rice? Tell me what individual player(s) on the entire Ravens team are more important than Rice? I’ll wait for your answer. Then you can tell me 1) How easy Ray is to replace 2) How much Ray is worth.

  10. thegonz13 says: Feb 27, 2012 7:20 PM

    $7.7 mil is not THAT bad… what’s everyone complaining about?

  11. teamgoku says: Feb 27, 2012 7:29 PM

    Baller nuff said

  12. randolph32 says: Feb 27, 2012 7:31 PM

    RB’s value is decreasing in this pass happy league…plus the injury risk is too high. I see both Rice and Forte getting the tag, unfortunately….

  13. sliceanddic3 says: Feb 27, 2012 7:31 PM

    Ray Rice isn’t Chris Johnson. He’s going to play hard for any team that has him, even if he isn’t under contract. He’s a class act.

  14. lilrob10201 says: Feb 27, 2012 7:43 PM

    Pay da man.You should be willing to pay your #1 offensive weapon.

  15. pftcensorssuck says: Feb 27, 2012 7:47 PM

    Must really suck having to scrape by on 7.7 mil

  16. ken0west says: Feb 27, 2012 7:50 PM

    Any RB in the “top 5″ category should not play 1 snap under the tag. Rice should hold out, and if he does he will win. If he plays under the tag he is a fool and should fire is agent. BAL will cave before week 10.

  17. cmahdavi says: Feb 27, 2012 8:33 PM

    Something cannot be more or less inevitable. It’s either inevitable or it’s not.

  18. bmcgrath2 says: Feb 27, 2012 9:04 PM

    I wish I could brace myself for a $7.7 million one year contract. Instead, I guess I will have to settle for a $65,000 one year contract, which isn’t guaranteed.

  19. joerevs300 says: Feb 27, 2012 9:09 PM

    The bottom line is the owners and G.M.’s still hold a lot of power in this league over the players.

    Not saying $7.7M is chump change, but denying what would likely end up as a 10M+ payday or more (+ a large signing bonus) if he could hit the open market, it just sucks.

    The NFL would be best to just eliminate the franchise tags all together. Either pay the guys or lose them. That will solve a lot of problems right there.

  20. johntonioholmes says: Feb 27, 2012 9:39 PM

    Without Rice, the Ravens are a 6-10 team. The guy is a monster.

  21. ahostiletakeover says: Feb 27, 2012 9:46 PM

    Anyone who is led to believe by PFT or any comments here that Rice will hold out in any shape or form is sorely mistakened. While Chris Johnson was holding out last fall, Ray Rice (selected roughly a full round after Johnson the same draft) was busting his ass in camp from day 1 for 600k last year. Rice is a definitive class act, I predict he’ll get slapped with the tag, sign it (7.7 mil is nothing to sneeze at) and a long term deal will be in place either during this years TC or even before it. Both sides want a deal completed and it will be done with little drama. Now if the Ravens could just get Grubbs back at a decent price range…

  22. bear0402 says: Feb 27, 2012 10:25 PM

    $7.7 million, and we are suppose to feel bad for him?

  23. jbcommonsense says: Feb 27, 2012 10:26 PM

    Talented RBs like Rice are ripped off by current rules. Their first 4 years are kept artificially low, then they can be franchise tagged 2 or 3 more years. And if their legs are shot at any pt during these first 7 years, then they have no value or career.

  24. canetic says: Feb 27, 2012 11:27 PM

    $7.7 million? It’s practically slavery. C’mon man!

  25. 6thsense79 says: Feb 28, 2012 12:40 AM

    jbcommonsense says:Feb 27, 2012 10:26 PM

    Talented RBs like Rice are ripped off by current rules. Their first 4 years are kept artificially low, then they can be franchise tagged 2 or 3 more years. And if their legs are shot at any pt during these first 7 years, then they have no value or career.
    ————————————————
    100% agree. That’s why you might see running backs more than any other position hold out. A running back is drafted at the age of 21 or 22. The typical NFL rookie contract calls for a 4 – 5 year deal. After that a team can franchise a player up to 3 straight years…….So if you’re a talented running back you can conceivably spend your entire career (most backs are through by age 29/30) without ever having the opportunity to test the free agent market and getting the true monetary value for your talents.

    The Franchise tag is the most bs rule in any professional sport and I’m suprise the players have put up with it this long. A back like Rice would comand way more than a 1 year $7.7 million deal on the open market. Rice was the most important offensive player on a Super Bowl calibar team (They were one catch away from the Super Bowl).

  26. watermelon1 says: Feb 28, 2012 4:39 AM

    Yes… please hold out. Then when the Ravens realize they don’t need you, you’ll get to go to a much worse team and struggle, or you’ll have to take less money than you were holding out for.

    Sorry but Ray Rice is much like Joe Flacco, in that he’s been fortunate to be on a very good team with plenty of talent around them that make them look much better than they are.

  27. heybeerman95 says: Feb 28, 2012 7:32 AM

    I would love to know why these guys hate the franchise tag so much. He will get $7.7 million GUARANTEED. I understand the whole “he could get hurt” thing but really? Wish my boss would force me to take $7.7 million this year. That would really suck.

  28. fin72 says: Feb 28, 2012 8:12 AM

    thegonz13 says:Feb 27, 2012 7:20 PM

    $7.7 mil is not THAT bad… what’s everyone complaining about?
    _____________________________

    Yeah, it’s not that bad compared to your $35,000 annual salary. If you were a player as good as Ray Rice who means as much to his team as he does and you’re one hit away from your career ending in a position where other guys make almost double that… that’s what everyone is complaining about. Oh, and Harbaugh should keep his mouth shut on matters like these to avoid alienating his locker room.

  29. clayton43 says: Feb 28, 2012 8:46 AM

    Rice wants 10 million a year… pay him !! I am a Steelers fan and that is the only person on the Ravens I do really like alot. I would rather pay him what he wants than Flacco for sure !!

    What I dont like is for any coach playing games in the media about what a ” player should do or shouldnt do” about his contract and such. Unless Harbaugh is paying the checks or paying for Rice’s money when he is injured.. he really shouldnt be discussing what Rice Should be doing or saying his personal feeling in the matter.

  30. raqaiw says: Feb 28, 2012 6:56 PM

    Been a fan of the Ravens since their inception. I have yet to see a player hold out longer than a week, and those were always 1st round rookies waiting for the “slotting system” to determine where their deals would fall. Every player Ozzie N. has tagged has signed a long-term deal with the Ravens. If he does get tagged, expect him to be a Raven for the rest of his career very shortly thereafter. Rice is great, but i don’t know that any Rb is 10M/yr great in today’s NFL. He has added value as a receiving threat, has led the league in combined yardage twice in 4 seasons, and is a legit stand-up role-model type guy(his work with kids especially is outstanding) so you don’t have to worry about him as an off-the-field issue guy, nor do you have to worry about him tanking once paid(conjecture,yes,but dude really is squeaky clean personality-wise publicly)so I can understand his agent shooting for the moon. Tough situation. In Ozzie we trust.

  31. bebopa says: Feb 28, 2012 9:55 PM

    whatever it takes, just keep #27 in Baltimore.

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