Late For Work 9/1: 20 Days Until Deadline For Ngata Deal

Plus Clayton criticized for saying Flacco’s elite; who Tyrod is really competing against.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Thursday, September 1st, 2011 at 9:18 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

20 Days Until Deadline For Ngata Deal

Of the 14 players who received franchise tags before the lockout, only five remain without a long-term deal, including Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.

In light of Eagles quarterback Michael Vick signing his six-year deal Monday, USA Today asked readers which player with a franchise tag should get paid next.

Ngata easily leads the poll with 53 percent of votes, leaving Browns kicker Phil Dawson, Vikings outside linebacker Chad Greenway, Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson and Dolphins nose tackle Paul Soliai to split the other 48 percent.

For Baltimore fans, they’ve been anticipating a long-term deal since the lockout ended in early July. Nearly two months later, still nothing.

So what’s the delay?

“The timing of it remains to be seen,” CSNBaltimore.com’s John Eisenberg told Mike Florio on ProFootballTalk Live. “I am not sure what the holdup is. It’s usually money, right?”

“There’s not a whole lot of concern as to whether this is going to get done. Obviously the Ravens can’t let Haloti Ngata walk, and they would never.”

If Ravens officials are going to lock Ngata into a multi-year deal this season, they have to do it by Sept. 20, which is the NFL deadline to sign tagged players. Otherwise it will have to wait until the regular season ends, and the defensive tackle will play on his reported one- year, $12.5 million franchise tag tender.

History shows that the Ravens eventually get deals done with their franchise designees, just like they did with Chris McAlister and Terrell Suggs. But there is an incentive to pull the trigger on Ngata sooner than later.

“The whole point of getting it done quickly was to give the Ravens cap room at this time when there’s been a lot of maneuvering on the cap,” said Eisenberg. “The Ngata camp has more leverage as a result of that on that particular point.”

Getting an extension done could potentially free up $7 million in cap room, according to The Baltimore Sun.

The wiggle room would be welcomed; especially with a slew of players about to hit the market after teams trim their rosters to 53 this weekend. But even Owner Steve Bisciotti doesn’t know exactly when a deal will be completed.

“I’m having a hard time giving away $60 million, the way this thing is going,” Bisciotti said in a Fan Forum with PSL holders two weeks ago.

“I have to leave that stuff up to [General Manager Ozzie Newsome]. It’s one of those things, there’s a certain way about the negotiations. … We would have loved to have had a deal and I don’t ask Oz if they’re close or not.”

Clayton Criticized For Giving Flacco “Elite” Status

ESPN’s John Clayton released his preseason starting quarterback rankings yesterday, listing Joe Flacco at No. 11 and designating him as one of the “elite” in the NFL.

“The Professor” often gets criticized for the number (13) of quarterbacks he places into his elite category (AFC North blogger James Walker is one of them), but he says he does it for a reason.

“Elite quarterbacks are the ones who usually make the playoffs, so I categorize the elites as the ones who give their franchises the best chance,” wrote Clayton. “The league has 12 playoff spots, and usually 10 or 11 of the elite quarterbacks fill those positions. To be elite, a quarterback must have 4,000-yard potential, complete 60 percent of his passes and score more than 20 points a game.”

Flacco has been shy of the 4,000-yard mark the past two seasons, but he typically completes more than 60 percent of his passes and he’s led the Ravens to a playoff berth in each year of his three-year career.

Clayton sees Flacco progressing even further in 2011.

“Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron is supposed to unleash a new Joe Flacco, one who will have more chances to go downfield and carry the team with his arm,” wrote Clayton. “Last year, the Ravens ran 23.8 plays a game out of two-back formations, but the addition of Lee Evans at split end and maybe Torrey Smith running some long routes could open up the offense a little more.”

Listed ahead of Flacco from No. 1 to 10 in order were: Tom Brady, Aaron Rogers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Phillip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Michael Vick, Eli Manning and Tony Romo.

Who Tyrod Is Really Competing Against

As Head Coach John Harbaugh said last week: newsflash – quarterback Tyrod Taylor has made the team.

Taylor, though, is trying to prove that he is a viable option to backup Flacco.

And the sixth-round draft pick’s competition isn’t necessarily coming from the other quarterback currently on the roster, Hunter Cantwell, who was on the Ravens’ practice squad last year.

“Taylor’s job is to convince the Ravens not to acquire a veteran cut by another team this weekend,” wrote Jamison Hensley of The Baltimore Sun.

Hensley named Sage Rosenfels or David Carr as potential casualties of the New York Giants roster cuts this weekend.  Taylor would have to fight them off or experienced free agents like Jake Delhomme, Todd Bouman or J.P. Losman.

“These remain viable options for the Ravens because team officials have stopped short of naming Taylor the backup,” Hensley explained.

While Flacco has been durable, never missing a game his entire three-year career, the Ravens showed they place a premium on the backup role when they signed Marc Bulger to a reported $3.8 million contract last year. But he’s no longer available after retiring this offseason, unless they can lure him out of it.

So tonight’s contest against the Atlanta Falcons is Taylor’s final shot to ward off pretty much all the other quarterbacks around the league who aspire to take the rookie’s coveted position. No pressure.

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