Late For Work 2/28: Potential Competition For Grubbs

Rice’s agent expecting the franchise tag and Williams predicts quick return after procedure.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 at 9:27 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Potential Competition For Grubbs

Little information has come out of the Ben Grubbs camp since Head Coach John Harbaugh announced the team is offering him “a lot of money” to stay in Baltimore.

Grubbs will have to make the decision to either accept the offer – whatever it is – or head into free agency to test the market and see if he can get more.

Pat Dye, Grubbs’ agent, spoke with Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times, but didn’t reveal much about the meeting he had with team officials over the weekend.

It was a very positive meeting with the Ravens,” Dye told the Times. “We’ll see where it goes from here. We’ll keep talking.”

Grubbs is regarded as one of the top free agents at the guard position, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he wanted to at least see what others would be willing to offer.

According to Wilson, the potential landing spots for Grubbs outside of Baltimore would be the Chicago Bears or Dallas Cowboys.

The Bears were forced to shuffle players around last season to compensate for the departure of center Olin Kreutz and various injuries. As a result, Offensive Coordinator Mike Tice says there is now surprising depth on the interior line.

That’s why ESPN’s Michael C. Wright doesn’t actually see the Bears upgrading through free agency.

The team isn’t likely to make moves to upgrade the interior of the offensive line through free agency,” Wright wrote. “But there’s a good chance the Bears add to the roster through the draft through late-round picks or undrafted rookies. It’s important to note that Tice has a track record for uncovering gems along the offensive line; especially undrafted free agents.”

The Cowboys, however, may be willing to spend as their biggest need on offense is the guard position, according to Football Outsiders’ Vince Verhei.

But the Ravens won’t let him go without a fight.

The team invested a reported $32.5 million contract in Pro Bowl offensive guard Marshal Yanda last year. Harbaugh said he regards Yanda and Grubbs as two of the best guards in the league and the Ravens intend to pay them “as such.”

“I’m pretty optimistic about it right now,” Harbaugh said over the weekend. “I hope that’s not misplaced. We’re in the process of negotiating. We’re committed, Steve Bisciotti’s committed, to offering him a really great number.”

Rice’s Agent Expecting Franchise Tag

If you are still holding out hope that the Ravens will sign running back Ray Rice to a long-term deal before the March 5 franchise tag deadline, you should know that Rice’s agent isn’t.

Todd France met with Ravens brass at the combine last weekend and is expecting the franchise designation.

“The meeting went fine,” France told Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times. “We obviously know the tag is coming, but we will continue to have open dialogue and see if we can come to a long-term agreement, which is the preference for both sides.”

If the Ravens do offer the one-year, $7.7 million franchise tender, the next question is whether Rice will sign it while negotiations continue or hold out. 

“Rice, one of the more upbeat players in the Ravens’ locker room, doesn’t sound like a holdout in the making,” wrote CSNBaltimore.com’s John Eisenberg. “But contract negotiations can do strange things to people.”

Rice hasn’t been asked whether he would hold out, but later in the season, he appeared accepting of the tag price because it’s “a lot more than I’ve ever had.” The league’s second-leading rusher earned a reported $555,000 in 2011.

Harbaugh said at the combine that he would be surprised if Rice held out.

Both sides have gone on record as saying they would prefer to agree on a long-term deal. A deal would give the Ravens more cap space to use on other areas of the roster and Rice would have long-term security.

But ESPN’s Jamison Hensley said he can envision Rice playing under the tag for the entire season.

Added PFT.com’s Mike Florio: “The Ravens surely would prefer to take it year-by-year for now, given that Rice plays a position that typically entails injury, sometimes serious.  Rice surely would prefer the protection against injury that comes with a long-term deal.”

Williams Predicts Quick Return After Procedure

Cary Williams eased concerns about the effects of a postseason procedure he had on his hip to repair a torn labrum.

In general terms, the recovery time from such a procedure could take anywhere from two to six months.

But Williams told WNST 1570 AM that his was only a slight tear and predicts a speedy recovery. He is already walking around, and only uses his crutches as a precautionary measure.

“It wasn’t nothing where it was a major crucial tear,” Williams told the Baltimore radio station. “It was small.

“Truthfully, I don’t even think I’ll be out a month because I feel great. I’ve really worked hard, I’m a hard worker. I try to keep myself in the best shape possible. Right after this surgery, I didn’t even need my pain pills, I might have taken them twice. This is one of those things where I’m very blessed. My hip feels great. It feels almost like I didn’t have surgery, but I can tell it’s still not all the way back to where it needs to be to where I can run.”

Asked for a date when he thinks he’ll be able to start doing football work again, Williams said March 15.

He said he played through pain during the season, but with the help of the training staff he said was able to fight through it and still play at a high level.

Quick Hits

  • Webb21: And I love Bmore! RT @cjthisguy23: @LWebb21 PLEASE dont leave us, BMORE loves you! [Twitter]
  • The Ravens offensive line was ranked No. 1 of the AFC North squads. “Even though there were times when Baltimore’s offensive line struggled mightily, this group was among the top 10 in the NFL in the second half of the season,” wrote Hensley. [ESPN]
  • AFC North rival Cleveland Browns took a “calculated risk” when they signed middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson to a reported five-year, $42.5 million deal yesterday, including $19 million in guaranteed money. “The Browns gave a five-year contract to a player who got on the field for a total of six games in 2009 and 2010 because of two separate pectoral injuries,” wrote Hensley. “The smart play would have been to use the franchise tag on Jackson. … It would have been pricey to use the tag on him ($8.8 million), but the Browns could have bought another year to see if he could stay healthy for another full season before giving him a multiyear deal.” [ESPN]
  • “The draft stock of the player most linked to the Ravens is taking a hit at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis,” wrote Eisenberg. “Arizona State’s Vontaze Burfict – the Ravens’ first-round pick on many mock drafts circulating online – is not going in the right direction.” After his performance at the combine, some draftniks say he might not be selected until the second or possibly even the third round. [CSNBaltimore.com]

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