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Contract negotiations are part of life in the NFL.
It’s one part, however, that Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti chooses to avoid.
“I’ve never sat in a negotiation and I never will,” Bisciotti said last week at the Ravens end-of-season press conference.
Bisciotti explained that he views many of the players almost like family, and doesn’t want to sever those relationships by sitting down at a potentially hostile negotiating table.
Instead, he leaves that work to the Ravens personnel experts like General Manager Ozzie Newsome and salary cap specialist Pat Moriarty.
“It is hard,” Bisciotti said. “That’s why these guys [in personnel] get paid the big bucks, because I don’t want to be in the middle of that, because it’s very difficult.”
This offseason the Ravens plan to enter contract negotiations with some of the franchise’s premier players like running back Ray Rice and quarterback Joe Flacco. Rice is an unrestricted free agent this offseason and Flacco is entering the final season of his five-year rookie contract.
As the Ravens go through negotiations with the two star players, Bisciotti plans to stay far from it. In fact, he typically doesn’t even talk with players until the negotiations are settled.
When the Ravens were working out a new deal with veteran linebacker Ray Lewis back in 2009, Bisciotti and Lewis kept their distance.
They call or text each other from time-to-time and usually get dinner once a year. But that year, the calls stopped and there was no dinner.
“I never talked to Ray Lewis about his negotiation during that time,” Bisciotti said. “He and I just kind of shut off our communication.”
Bisciotti expects to continue with that method once again this offseason.
“We just kind of shut it down and let these [personnel] guys do their job,” Bisciotti said.