Ravens safety Ed Reed has been sending fairly cryptic messages to the team on Twitter. On Wednesday, he made more clear his threat, or possibly his plan, to hold out until the Ravens give him a new contract.
“The only way we protect ourselves, the only way a player gets what he wants is by holding out,” Reed told 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore, via Matt Vensel of the Baltimore Sun. “So if Ray Rice doesn’t show up, so be it. If Joe Flacco didn’t show up and got a contract, so be it.”
Reed explained that he thinks the NFLPA “messed things up” last year, and that he believes he needs to stick up for other players on the issue of getting paid.
While those comments say nothing about Reed’s specific plans, a separate response regarding what he’ll be doing when the season begins says it all: “Watching Sunday and Monday night football on my sofa, man, and watching these guys play some real good football.”
That’s the clearest hint yet that Reed doesn’t plan to report for training camp. The Ravens likely will continue to think he’s bluffing, primarily because they believe that, when push comes to shove, he can’t stay away from the game.
Reed knows that the Ravens need him more than ever, given the torn Achilles tendon suffered by linebacker Terrell Suggs in the offseason. Due to earn a base salary of $7.2 million in 2012, Reed is entering the final year of his contract, and now may be the best time for Reed to take a stand in order to get paid.
And, yes, the Ravens don’t have the cap space to give out a bunch of big contracts. But Reed’s cap number easily can be converted into a signing bonus, and Reed can be given significant guaranteed money in 2012 and 2013. Likewise, the Ravens could rip through the various player contracts, renegotiating deals and creating plenty of cap space for signing Reed, Rice, Flacco, and anyone else they want to sign.
But first the Ravens have to want to do it. More importantly as to Reed, he has to want to stay away.
And then he has to be able to.