Late For Work 2/17: No Progress With Rice, But Still Have Time

Re-sign McClain to replace Ricky? A nervous and humbled Suggs accepting DPOY award.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Friday, February 17th, 2012 at 9:10 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

No Progress With Rice, But Still Have Time

It’s hard to know exactly what to make of ProFootballTalk’s report that there has been no progress in contract talks between the Ravens and running back Ray Rice, whose deal is set to expire next month.

One wonders if there has been no progress because the two sides aren’t on the same page, or maybe because they simply haven’t started the process yet.

The latter appears to be the case, per NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora, who reported there haven’t been any real talks between the two sides yet.

While sources told La Canfora that Rice would be unhappy if Baltimore rushes to assign the franchise tag without first attempting to negotiate a potential long-term deal, the NFL insider also pointed out that there’s still plenty of time to talk.

“Remember, you have until March 5 to decide whether or not you’re going to franchise someone,” La Canfora told our own Ryan Mink. “They still have a lot of time.”

With free agency being pushed back this year, the deadline to assign the franchise tag was also extended by one week. That gives the two sides a little more cushion to work something out.

Also remember, this isn’t General Manager Ozzie Newsome’s first rodeo. He’s negotiated new deals with plenty of Pro Bowl players, many times after using the tag. Through it all, Ravens brass has tagged players like Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata and maintained positive relationships.

There’s no reason to believe the same won’t be true with Rice – tag or no tag.

“The franchise tag may make the most sense for the Ravens,” La Canfora said. “That buys them time and you still have until June or July to get a deal done before that deadline hits and you can’t talk anymore. The bottom line is he will be on that roster one way or another.”

Rice understands that process, essentially saying the same thing last month

“It buys time, is what it does,” he said. “If it happens, it happens.”

“If the Ravens use the franchise tag, he’ll likely sign it quickly and focus on getting ready for his fifth NFL season,” wrote Mike Florio.

Re-Sign McClain To Replace Ricky?

In addition to locking up Rice for next year, there is also still the task of replacing his backup since Ricky Williams announced his retirement.

Two potential candidates on the roster are second-year backs Anthony Allen and Damien Berry, but ESPN’s Jamison Hensley say it would be a “mistake” to hand  the job over to either one this early in their development.

“Both young players need another year before stepping into that role,” the AFC North blogger wrote.

Hensley is on board with the idea of bringing back former Raven Le’Ron McClain, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March after his one-year stint in Kansas City.

Primarily playing at the fullback, McClain only carried the ball 15 times for 51 yards last season. But he believes he can be a featured back, and proved he can be effective in 2008 when he rushed for 902 yards.

McClain obviously knows Rice and the Ravens offense after playing in Baltimore for four years. He could also offer versatility by backing up the fullback position and contributing on special teams.

“The Ravens have previously gone with more experienced ball carriers as backups with Williams and Willis McGahee,” wrote Hensley. “But adding McClain would be a very sound move. McClain is the right player (he can back up at running back and fullback as well as play special teams) for the right price (he only made $1.5 million with the Chiefs last season).”

Suggs’ DPOY Acceptance Speech

Suggs’ Acceptance Speech

Have you seen Suggs’ Defensive Player of the Year acceptance speech yet? recently got a copy of it, and I must say it isn’t often you get to see a nervous T-Sizzle. He was clearly humbled by the award, which is endearing. Check it out, it’s a good watch.

Quick Hits

  • Hensley on Flacco’s agent suggesting his client deserves top-5 quarterback money … “Everybody knows it’s the job of the agent to get as much money as he or she can for his player. But agents hate when teams lowball them, so they shouldn’t do the same.” [ESPN]
  • Flacco may not be in the top 5, but Warren Sapp and Torry Holt believe he is the best of all the young signal callers in the league, and say the Ravens must lock him up for many years to come. []
  • RavensInsider: Former Ravens WR Justin Harper to sign with the Sasketchewan Roughriders, per a league source [Twitter]
  • QadryIsmail: Time to set your reservations now! Join me and some of the current players on the AAA Ravens Fan Cruise!!! July 8-15 [Twitter]
  • AdamSchefter: Well, that didn’t take long: Free-agent WR Randy Moss has received an offer…from the IFL’s Chicago Slaughter. [Twitter]
  • Artj97: Make sure you all watch the draft lab today on ESPN… My little brother @ChanJones99 will be featured as a top prospect! #Blessed [Twitter]
  • pkruger99: And thanks for all of the belated bday wishes too! Yes, it was on the 15th!!! [Twitter]
  • Michael Oher speaks about his new book … [Yahoo!Sports]

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