Flacco and Rice signings are far from imminent

Lombardi's Way Flacco and Rice signings are far from imminent

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So far striking new deals with Joe Flacco and Ray Rice has been anything but easy. And unless one side caves by either offering too much or accepting too little reaching mutually acceptable terms usually doesn’t happen without the influence of an unbiased element of some kind. And in the case of negotiations that element is usually a deadline.

Joe Flacco wants to be paid like a top 5 quarterback according to sources and overtures by his agent Joe Linta.

Ray Rice is said to be thinking Adrian Peterson dollars for his new deal.

Maybe these two players should take Bruno Mars off their iPod favorites playlist.

This past November when Steve Bisciotti joined us on the Ravens Rap we asked the Ravens owner if it would take $40M guaranteed to sign Joe Flacco to an extension. Bisciotti said confidently that it won’t take that much.

During the State of the Ravens season ending presser, when questioned about Joe Flacco, Ozzie Newsome said that his measuring stick for Joe is wins. “Joe is a winner.” Surely Flacco’s agent was smiling when he heard that. Clearly his win-loss record will be Flacco’s lever in the negotiations.

Something to keep in mind…back in 2009 Eli Manning signed a new deal that included $35 million in guarantees. At the time Manning had one Super Bowl ring. We’ll see if inflation and those wins gets Flacco to that level. My guess is $35M is Flacco’s market rate.

That said if he doesn’t come down from his delirious Top 5 perch, he’ll be playing 2012 without a contract extension, just like Eli Manning and Philip Rivers nearly did in the final years of their respective rookie contracts.

As for Ray Rice, his deal might be a bit trickier. It’s difficult to give a back a big contract. Their career longevity just isn’t there and they are susceptible to career threatening/shortening injuries more so than others given their workload/touches. Rice would probably be wise not to point to Adrian Peterson and his huge contract because it just might influence the Ravens even more to use the franchise tag – more than once.

Peterson received a 7 year, $100 million deal from the Vikings that included $36 million in guarantees and a total payout of $40 million over the first three years of the deal. It’s not too far-fetched to expect that the best years of Peterson’s and Rice’s careers will happen over the next three seasons although given the severity of Peterson’s injury that is clearly in doubt.

The Ravens can do themselves a favor and mitigate these financial and cap crushing risks.

With a franchise tag number of $7.7 million for Rice, the Ravens could run their star offensive player through 3 seasons of franchise tags, spend far less than $40 million and then cut bait. It sounds a bit harsh particularly when dealing with a player who is team centric, involved in the community and a fan favorite like Rice but the bottom line is the bottom line. He and his peers all understand that this is the business of the NFL.

And as far a running backs go a look around the league suggests that with the right offense and the right offensive line, value can be found at the position. Not one of the league’s Top 6 backs is a first round pick nor do any of them have the whopping contracts of Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson. Three of the 6 are second round picks (Rice, LeSean McCoy and Maurice Jones-Drew), one is a third round pick (Frank Gore), one a fifth (Michael Turner) and the last an undrafted free agent (Arian Foster).

Nobody said it was easy striking a new deal with star players.

Hustling to the finish line is never prudent for either side.

So brace yourself, we’ll be hearing about these contract talks regarding Flacco and Rice for quite awhile.

That’s just the way it is.


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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts "The Fanimal" also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi


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