Late For Work 2/3: If Rice Gets A Deal, Grubbs Could Get Tag

Will Foxworth’s knee stop him from playing again? Ravens’ stability inspires Giants owner.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Friday, February 3rd, 2012 at 9:08 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

If Rice Gets A Deal, Grubbs Could Get Tag


That was the word’s John Eisenberg used to describe General Manager Ozzie Newsome’s answer when asked if the Ravens would be able to retain guard Ben Grubbs, while also agreeing to new deals with quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice.

Newsome clearly wants Grubbs back, but it doesn’t appear likely.

“I suspect Ravens cap guru Pat Moriarty will crunch the numbers 100 different ways, but he’s going to reach the same conclusion every time,” wrote The Baltimore Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg. “It doesn’t make financial sense to keep Grubbs, because it would create holes elsewhere the Ravens simply won’t be able to fill.”

After signing right guard Marshal Yanda to a reported a five-year, $32 million deal six months ago, Van Valkenburg says it appears to be “a fact” that the Ravens can’t tie up nearly $70 million in two guard positions.

It’s also “unfortunate” that Grubbs’ contract is up at a time when Flacco and Rice are negotiating with the Ravens. “That’s something Yanda didn’t have to contend with,” he wrote.

But what if Grubbs didn’t have to contend with Flacco or Rice? What if the Ravens could hold on to Grubbs for just one more year?

The Ravens said on Wednesday that they would like to get a new deal done with Rice before free agency, instead of assigning him the franchise tag.

While striking a new deal that quickly would be very complicated, getting it done would mean the Ravens could use their tag on someone else.

Enter Grubbs.

“They will [use the tag on Rice] if they can’t get a long-term deal done,” La Canfora said. “They’d like to get a long-term deal with him and then in that case, if they do that, maybe save that franchise tag for Ben Grubbs, one of their real emerging stars.”

While it sounds like an intriguing solution to keep all three emerging stars in Baltimore, it would be an uphill battle to agree to a new contract with Rice before March 5. Remember how long it took for Ravens brass and Haloti Ngata to get a deal done after he was tagged?

Van Valkenburg believes the Rice negotiations could get “contentious” and even lead to a holdout.

“Rice and his agent have to realize they’re never going to have more bargaining power than they have right now,” he wrote. “If the Ravens attempt to offer less than what Chris Johnson and Peterson got in guaranteed money, I can’t imagine it will go over well. …. This is not a team that rushes into major financial commitments, nor does it give in easily at the table.”

Still, there is always that “if.”

If Rice and Ravens brass can get a deal done, then that franchise tag would just be sitting there ready to be used elsewhere.

Will Foxworth’s Knee Stop Him From Ever Playing Again?

Domonique Foxworth’s future in football is cloudy.

The 28-year-old cornerback was placed on the injured reserve list for the second time in two seasons last September after suffering complications in getting his surgically repaired knee back to 100 percent.

Foxworth was asked about his injured knee after a NFL Players Association meeting at the Super Bowl, but had little to offer.

“I don’t really have anything to say about it,” Foxworth said, per ESPN.

Asked if his knee could stop him from ever playing again, he said: “That’s a tough question. I feel like I probably shouldn’t talk about anything in depth until I talk to the team.”

One can’t help but feel for Foxworth during his journey as a Raven. He signed with the team to a reported four-year, $27.2 million deal in 2009, making him the Ravens’ top free agent that year. He was brought in to start at corner right away to help bolster the unit.

After a solid first year, he then tore his ACL in a non-contact drill right before the first day of camp in 2010. He has never been the same since.

After the team announced last September that Foxworth would be put on the reserved list, the dejected corner told reporters, “The more I do, the worse it gets.”

As I mentioned yesterday, many pundits believe the Ravens will release Foxworth this offseason and use the $5.6 million he is due in 2012 somewhere else.

If Foxworth doesn’t return to the field, his influence on the NFL may still be felt. Currently a member of the NFLPA executive committee, Foxworth could find himself as the organization’s next president when the job opens up in March.

“It’s been brought up a few times,” Foxworth said. “We’ll see. I’m a real proponent of Jeff [Saturday, Colts center] running and he’s a proponent of me running. And there’s always other people. There’s plenty of great leaders on our executive committee. I’m not ruling it out but I’m definitely not throwing my hat in the ring right now.”

Ravens’ Stability Inspires Giants Owner

The stability of teams such as the Ravens inspired Giants Owner John Mara to stick with Head Coach Tom Coughlin when the franchise went through hard times.

After doing so, the Giants have put themselves in the position to compete this Sunday for the NFL’s biggest prize – the Lombardi Trophy.

“I am proud of that. That’s something that we strive for around here,” Mara said at the Super Bowl. “I look at the other successful franchises in this league – the Patriots, the Steelers, Green Bay, Baltimore – that’s what they have. They have stability.

They don’t make big changes every year. You try to get the right people in place and you try to let them do their jobs and then you try to have some sense of stability. There’s enough turnover in this league as it is and if you can keep your key people in place and have some confidence to let them do their jobs and ride out the ups and downs, then I think you have a chance to be successful. If you start making impulsive changes, I think that’s recipe for disaster. We’ve tried to avoid that.”

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley points out that the Ravens have only had three head coaches in their 16-year existence: Ted Marchibroda, Brian Billick and John Harbaugh. Additionally, the Ravens have valued stability at the offensive coordinator position with Cam Cameron, who has served under Harbaugh all four of his years in Baltimore. They have never fired a defensive coordinator during the Harbaugh era either; although, Rex Ryan, Chuck Pagano and Greg Mattison have all moved on to pursue other positions.

Quick Hits

  • “It looks like the Ravens fully intend to bring back Billy Cundiff, although he may have to compete for his job in training camp,” wrote Van Valkenburg. “On some level, you have to admire that kind of loyalty. But you can’t help but wonder how Cundiff will react when he misses a kick early in the season. Because fans will be brutal.”
  • Usually the best teams in the league start their own draft picks, but not this year. The Giants (197) and Patriots (181) are ranked 20th and 26th, respectively, in starting their own draftees. Conversely, the Steelers (264) and Ravens (220) are second and eighth, respectively, in starting their own picks. [ESPN/]
  • Peyton Manning has been medically cleared by two doctors to resume his NFL career. [ESPN]
  • Despite the AFC championship loss, did Flacco silence his critics? The “No Huddle” crew passionately debates.

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