Late For Work 2/20: How Ravens Can Nab Wallace From Pit.

Flacco’s agent confident common ground will be found. Jackson in line for bigger job?

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Monday, February 20th, 2012 at 9:29 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Schefter: How Ravens Can Nab Wallace From Pit.

There are two things you should remember about General Manager Ozzie Newsome as you read how the Ravens could nab receiver Mike Wallace away from the Pittsburgh Steelers:

First, Ozzie covets draft picks.

Second, he lives by the mantra, “Right player, right price.”

That said, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in “big trouble,” says ESPN’s Adam Schefter, because they have a “potential real problem” in keeping Wallace, who many consider one of the most complete wide receivers in the game today.

The Steelers, who are already trying to find ways to get under the cap, will likely franchise or tender Wallace with a first-round draft choice, says Schefter.  This year, teams cannot tender a player for both a first and a third.

Thus, a team that is eyeing Wallace could send Pittsburgh a first-rounder, and then to ensure Kevin Colbert and Co. can’t match an offer to keep him, the said team can propose a roster bonus that the cap-strapped Steelers can’t afford.

So if you’re the Baltimore Ravens or Cincinnati Bengals or San Francisco 49ers, what you do is you structure a contract with a roster bonus that’s paid right away,” said Schefter. “If there’s a roster bonus of $20, $25, $30 million, Pittsburgh would have to pay that right now. Pittsburgh is way over the cap. They’re struggling to get under the cap. That would be a very difficult thing to do.”

Pittsburgh would have to choose between letting go of one of the best receivers in the league, or trim the roster in other places to ensure Wallace stays put.

Tim Hasselbeck said if either the Ravens or Bengals manage to steal Wallace, the move would have huge ramifications in the division.

“Not only would you make your football team better, an area of need for your football team [better] – especially if you’re the Ravens – you then make your divisional opponent, who you play twice a year, weaker,” said Hasselbeck. “And the revenge games are always great when you get to go against that team twice.”

Said Schefter: “This sets up terribly for the Pittsburgh Steelers. This sets up to be a potential real problem for the Pittsburgh Steelers. … Poison pills are not allowed, but all you have to say is, ‘We’re not paying him a signing bonus,’ which is spread out and prorated. A roster bonus counts against that season’s salary cap right away.

“So if you’re a team like the Bengals or Ravens or 49ers, you say, ‘We’re just going to pay you in the form of a roster bonus. The Pittsburgh Steelers are in big trouble.”  

It is unclear whether the Wizard of Oz thinks Wallace is the “right player” for his team and whether the “right price” is his 29th-overall draft pick, plus a contract with a $20-30 million roster bonus.

But his answer to a similar scenario can be applied.

At the season-review press conference earlier this month, Newsome was asked if he thought another team would give up a first-round pick for cornerback Lardarius Webb, who is also scheduled to become a restricted free agent in March.

His response is telling:

“This league covets draft picks,” said Newsome.  ”And so, in order to go after a restricted guy, No. 1, you have to give a number now that’s something that I won’t match, or we won’t match as a team. And then you’ve got to also give up a significant draft choice, because we would put some numbers on there that would make it prohibitive for people.

“There’s going to be some restricted free agents that we would like, but is it going to be worth giving up a significant amount of cash and cap and a draft pick? When you deal with that double-whammy, even though the rules have been relaxed, you just go, ‘Nah, no, I wouldn’t do it.’ That’s just my philosophy.”

Linta Confident He And Ravens Will Find Common Ground

When news broke that Joe Flacco’s agent, Joe Linta, said his client is top-5 quarterback (based on wins and durability), some speculated that meant contract negotiations would stall because Flacco and the Ravens would be too far apart.

Linta is confident, however, that a deal will get done this year.

“I think it will happen,” Joe Linta said Friday during an appearance on Pro Football Talk Live. “Whether it happens now, in August or on St. Patrick’s Day, I can’t tell you.”

The long-time agent, who also represents Matt Birk, knows Ravens brass and said their relationship is both friendly and respectful.

He said it’s just a matter of finding common ground, and he’s confident both sides can do that.

If they can’t find common ground, of course the Ravens could let Flacco play out the final year of his rookie contract to prove he is worth what could be more than $30 million in guaranteed money.

“I don’t think they would do that,” Linta said. “You can already see what he’s done – 44 regular-season wins, plus five in the playoffs in his first four years out of the box. When you start talking about accomplishments that no one has done in the storied history of the NFL, you don’t need to say, ‘We need to see him do more, see what he does.’ They wouldn’t insult their own intelligence that way.”

According to his agent, Flacco is very happy with the direction of the offense.

“I think their offense is in an ascending spot,” said Linta. “I think they’re going to be pretty good. I think Joe is really happy with the weapons. It’s a matter of all of them maturing as a group and becoming more dynamic going forward.”

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Bengals Hire Jackson On Defense, Special Teams. Huh?

On Friday, the Bengals hired Hue Jackson, the former Raiders head coach and Ravens quarterback coach, to assist in coaching defensive backs and special teams.

Huh? His bio says has no experience coaching defense or special teams.  Does that move make any sense to you, Peter King?

None, unless it’s a you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours Palmer trade payback,” the columnist tweeted.

Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis told the team website that coaches can coach no matter what.

“Hue’s done a lot of things since he left us. He’s been a coordinator twice, a head coach, a quarterbacks coach,” Lewis said. “He’ll able to conceptualize what offenses are doing for the defense.”

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley believes the hiring is temporary for Jackson, who could be the in-house replacement if Cincinnati Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden leaves for a head-coaching job.

Quick Hits

  • The Ravens’ pursuit of a new deal with running back Ray Rice starts now. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • The Ravens should bring back Cory Redding because his play and leadership have earned him a return. []
  • If the Ravens did decide to target Le’Ron McClain in free agency, at least we know he, Rice and Vonta leach would all be good friends … RayRice27: Yo @vleach44 and @LeRon_McClain44 next time y’all chill without me it’s gonna be a problem lol [Twitter]
  • LWebb21: Touring through the rain forest in Puerto Rico! Gorgeous!
  • Michael Oher’s adopted Mom, Leigh Anee Tuohy, is keeping Ravens players in line
    @Artj97: I need the biggest size they have 2xl or 3xl #jermeylinJersey
    @RayRice27: 10xl wide that might fit
    @Artj97: Haha good one little man!!!
    @LeighAnneTuohy:  Its Sunday Ray be nice to our teammates!
    @RayRice27: ok I will be nice I apologize lol
    @Artj97: Lol thanks for sticking up for me. Very much appreciate that. He always bullies me.
  • Israel Gutierrez, Jemele Hill and Michael Smith debate if Flacco should make top-five QB money. [ESPN]


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