Running back Ray Rice isn’t expected to be at Ravens OTAs this week, but the Baltimore Sun reports that his absence isn’t a sign that contract talks are moving in the wrong direction.
Quite the opposite, actually. Jeff Zrebiec of the Sun writes Monday that the two sides are making progress toward a long-term contract. No deal is imminent, but the two sides are talking and moving toward a deal despite the many issues that need to be worked out. They have until July 16th to come to an agreement, but the hope is that the deal can be done sooner than that.
If no deal is reached, Rice would have the choice of signing his $7.7 million franchise tender or holding out from training camp. There’s been no indication that he’s planning to do that, although there’s still two months to go before push comes to shove.
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune reported over the weekend that Rice wants $10 million per season from the Ravens and that he’s unlikely to get it. That sounds right, especially in light of LeSean McCoy getting less than that despite being two years younger than Rice. The two players aren’t perfectly comparable to one another, but there are similarities that would seem to make McCoy’s deal a good jumping off point for the Rice negotiations.