On Flashback Fridays RSR will take a look back at some published articles that today act as reminders of what once was here in Ravens Nation. These pieces will range from nearly clairvoyant to downright silly. We hope you enjoy your 5 minute journey down memory lane.
Today we look back to a time when Ray Lewis eagerly looked forward to his status as a free agent.
(Originally posted February 28, 2009)
Make no mistake about it, free agency lures Ray Lewis because it feeds his ego. Lewis wants to be wanted. He’s a Cheap Trick song and come 12:01 am on Friday, Lewis’ iPod may as well be playing I Want You to Want Me.
Lewis knows what he has in Baltimore. He’s the team leader and he has the adoration of the Ravens’ fan base. He also has what is believed to be $12 million in guarantees sitting on a conference room table somewhere within the walls of the castle that sits at One Winning Drive.
But I guess that isn’t enough – at least not for now.
Back at the end of November, Lewis was asked about his pending status as a free agent.
“If the season ends and I’m a totally free agent, for the first time in my life I will be totally free,” he said. “You know what that feels like for a man? It’s one thing to deal with a contract. It’s one thing to deal with life without a contract. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel to make my own decision.”
Gee the shackles of a recently expired $50 million contract sure can strap a man’s freedom now can’t they?
Well we will all soon learn exactly what rewards freedom will afford Lewis. But as the dawn of free agency creeps up on us, it begs a few interesting questions that those emotionally detached from the situation have to define as compelling.
What will the market offer Lewis particularly when most agree that his value is the greatest in Baltimore? If the deep pockets of Jerry Jones fall out of the mix for Lewis as reported how might that impact market value?
If Baltimore’s offer is in fact $12 million guaranteed and they know Lewis best, why would another team offer more knowing that they won’t get the Ray Lewis that wears a Ravens’ uniform?
What if while Lewis is being wined and dined in a way that I’m sure he’ll covet given his gargantuan ego, the Ravens sign Bart Scott? What then? Wouldn’t that put a dent in the negotiating leverage of Lewis’ agent David Dunn now that the fallback option, the ace in the hole, namely the Baltimore Ravens is no longer the ace in the hole. Would the $12 million still be on the table and without those bargaining chips might prospective new employers suddenly offer less for Dunn’s client?
What if at the end of the day Lewis comes crawling back to the Ravens, wanting that $12 million and it isn’t there or it isn’t much more than the guaranteed money given to Scott? Could Lewis suck it up, check his ego at the door and continue to lead and play the way he did in 2008?
After all, it’s just business, right?
Might these lingering questions force Dunn to panic, save face and get a Lewis deal done before Friday morning? Perhaps his agenda isn’t consistent with Lewis’.
Add it all up and it is a very compelling saga that could have a happy ending for Ravens fans or it could become a red letter day for Baltimore comparable to the day Johnny Unitas left the horseshoe behind for a lightning bolt.
Clearly one thing is certain – it will be dramatic as most things are with Ray Lewis when he’s busy off the field.
Ravens fans this is your captain for Flight No. 52 speaking.
We are expecting some turbulence ahead so please fasten your seatbelt.