Late For Work 2/24: Harbaugh: We’re Offering A Lot Of Money To Grubbs

It’d be surprising if Rice held out – wouldn’t gain leverage. Drafting WR a big possibility.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Friday, February 24th, 2012 at 9:13 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Harbaugh: We’re Offering A Lot Of Money To Grubbs

That Ravens aren’t going to lose unrestricted guard Ben Grubbs to free agency without a fight.

The team has made it clear it wants Grubbs back to be the anchor on the left side of the offensive line, and it appears it is willing to pony up a lot of cash to make that happen.

“We’ve offered – I don’t know if we’ve offered it yet – but we’re in negotiations of offering a lot of money,” Head Coach John Harbaugh told Jerry Coleman on 105.7 The Fan last night from the combine.  

“We’re going to really make a run at Ben.”

Quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice are both in line to get new contracts this offseason, so it’s unclear how much “a lot of money” is, and if it’s enough to keep Grubbs in Baltimore. 

Marshal Yanda signed a reported five-year, $32.5 million contract last year, and Harbaugh said he’d like to see Grubbs and Yanda together far into the future.

He believes the duo is as good at guard as anyone in the league and “we’re going to pay Ben as such.”

“He’ll just have to make a decision like all the guys do,” Harbaugh said. “You know, to do that now or to go ahead and take it out to free agency and take it out to the market and see if he can get even more than that. That’s a decision he’s going to have to make with his agent, but I know Ben wants to be here, he’s told me that numerous times.”

With an offer on the table, Harbaugh said the Ravens are crossing their fingers and hope Grubbs will accept it.

If Grubbs decides to test the free-agent market and then winds up with another team, Harbaugh understands he will have to find another solution.

“If it doesn’t get done, then we’re just going to have to move on and kind of rebuild the offensive line a little bit,” he said.

“But hopefully we’ll be able to deal with Ben.”

Harbaugh Would Be ‘Surprised’ If Rice Held Out

If negotiations stall with Rice this offseason, the Ravens running back could always try an often-used tactic to get the deal he wants.

Like Titans running back Chris Johnson, Rice could hold out of training camp, hoping that it would give him an upper-hand in negotiations.

But Harbaugh doesn’t see that happening.

“In all honesty, I’d be surprised just knowing Ray because I know how much he loves football,” Harbaugh told The Fan. “I think he understands there’s no leverage to be gained by doing that.”

Harbaugh pointed out that sometimes guys who hold out don’t have a lot of success the following season. That was the case for Johnson, who recorded career lows in yards, yards per carry and touchdowns last year after holding out.

And while doing so sometimes gets contract results with other franchises, Harbaugh assured that’s not the way the Ravens do business.

“That would never be the way to get a contract here,” he said. “That’s not the way the Ravens have operated. That’s not the way Ozzie [Newsome] looks at it, that’s not how I look at it, that’s not how Steve [Bisciotti] looks at it.

“So I don’t think Ray would do that. I don’t think that’s how his agent feels that’s a way to gain an advantage. But it’s a possibility.”

The Ravens are scheduled to meet with Todd France, Rice’s agent, later this week at the combine, according to Ravens Insider Aaron Wilson.

Harbaugh confidently predicted that Rice will be playing for the Ravens in Week 1 of the 2012 season. And to make sure that happens, the team is ready to pay Rice a handsome amount.

“He’s going to be making franchise tag numbers at least,” Harbaugh said.We want him signed long-term. Ray is a Raven, he’s a leader, and he’s a great person.”

The franchise tag for a running back this year is worth $7.7 million.

Drafting a WR ‘A Big Possibility’

The Ravens aren’t done building weapons around Flacco, and they are searching for at least one at the combine in Indianapolis right now.

“A receiver in the draft is a big possibility if there’s the right guy there at the right spot, one that we like,” Harbaugh said. “It would have to be someone with a real unique quality.”

Can you guess the most important quality the Ravens are looking for?

With crucial passes falling through the hands of T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Lee Evans, ending the Ravens’ post-season runs the last two years, it comes as no surprise that the Ravens want a receiver that, first and foremost, can hold onto the ball.

“I think obviously the No. 1 thing we are looking for is a guy who can catch,” Harbaugh said. “That maybe would sound obvious, but sometimes you get caught up in all those other things, you know – separation, height, speed, weight, how long their arms are, how long your finger nails are – all of that.

“That’s all fine, but man, they better be able to catch the ball.”

Harbs Thought Williams Would Change His Mind

Harbaugh admitted it caught him by surprise to receive a text message from his backup running back Ricky Williams, informing him that the 11-year veteran would retire.

He was so surprised, that he initially thought Williams might change his mind and come back.

“I have to admit, I was very supportive of him on whichever way he wanted to go, but I felt like he’d call me back in a day or two and he’d change his mind because that’s a big decision. But he didn’t, he was very firm on it,” Harbaugh said.

“He’s got some plans about what he wants to do in the future, so you know what, if that’s how you feel about it, that’s what you got to go do.”

Harbaugh said that, right now, Williams’ replacements are Anthony Allen and Damien Berry, noting that he can’t be afraid to see what young players can do on the field.

“We’ve seen those guys all year, seen them practice every single day and both those guys are up to the task,” he said. “Now someone else comes in the mix – draft, veteran free agents, whatever – that just adds more competition to it, but those two guys, they can do it.”

Quick Hits

  • RavensInsider: Ravens are scheduled to meet with the agent for quarterback Joe Flacco on Saturday in Indy, according to a league source. Start of process [Twitter]
  • Pittsburgh cleared about $8 million in salary cap space by restructuring quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s contract, but more work needs to be done if the team wants to retain wide receiver Mike Wallace. To protect their star receiver, they need to create an additional $9.4 million. [ESPN]
  • Would Bengals running back Cedric Benson be a good fit for the Ravens as a backup to Rice? []
  • The Ravens linebacker unit was ranked No. 1 among all AFC North teams. Half the starters could be gone next year, however, because Jameel McClain and Jarret Johnson are unrestricted free agents. Wrote Jamison Hensley, “McClain could get a nice-sized contract elsewhere, which would force the Ravens to promote underachieving Dannell Ellerbe or draft a replacement. Johnson could get lured to Indianapolis, where former defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano is now the head coach. The Ravens would turn to Paul Kruger to step in for Johnson because Sergio Kindle has failed to develop.” [ESPN]
  • untouchablejay4 [Suggs]: “ALL IS WELL”. hope everybody is having a good day. remember, “DONT DO SOMETHING PERMANENTLY STUPID JUST CAUSE YOU’RE TEMPORARILY UPSET” [Twitter]

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