We’ve heard several times this offseason that Ravens running back Ray Rice wants to be paid like one of the NFL’s elite running backs, and that the player and the team are far apart in contract talks.
But Sal Paolantonio of ESPN might have had the report that put the distance between the Ravens and Rice into the starkest terms yet: Paolantonio said that when talking to a senior Ravens official about reports that Rice wants Adrian Peterson money or at least Chris Johnson money, that senior team official said, “That is simply not going to happen.”
Peterson signed a seven-year, $100 million deal with $36 million guaranteed, while Johnson signed a six-year, $56 million contract with $30 million guaranteed. Rice can’t expect to get that.
There’s probably no NFL running back who can expect to get that, especially considering that both the Titans and the Vikings have to be having second thoughts about those contracts now. Johnson had by far his worst season after signing that lucrative contract last year, and Peterson had his season end with a torn ACL. Most NFL teams believe that running backs break down too quickly, get injured too often and are replaced too easily to invest huge sums of money in them.
Rice may come to terms with the Ravens on a new deal, but only if he’s willing to take a lot less than Peterson and Johnson got. If no deal is reached by July 16, Rice will end up playing for the one-year franchise tender of $7.7 million.