Late For Work 3/30: Ed Reed Giving Ravens Subtle Contract Nudge?

Bisciotti ready to give Flacco, Rice ‘a lot of money.’ Salary-cap update: $1.7 million left.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Friday, March 30th, 2012 at 9:00 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Reed Giving Ravens Subtle Contract Nudge?

Is Ed Reed trying to send Ravens brass a message with the latest reported statement that he thinks he can play four or five more years?

That’s what AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley is wondering, saying it’s “shocking” that Reed thinks he has that much time left.

“This sounds like Reed is giving a subtle nudge to the Ravens as he heads into the final year of his contract,” Hensley wrote.

Reed spoke with the Sun Sentinel in Miami after he and Ravens teammate Bryant McKinnie were inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame Thursday night. (Ray Lewis has already been inducted.)

Since Reed has not publicly said he would return for the 2012 season – he has only said so privately to Head Coach John Harbaugh – the Sun Sentinel asked for confirmation.

“There’s a lot of talk out there. I’m not going to say I’m 50-50, because I’m not,” Reed said. “I want to play football. But it’s something me and my team have been discussing the last couple of weeks. My partners, they do a great job of making sure I know the pros and cons of what’s going on with my body and with the organization and where we’re at. I plan on doing it, but depending, it could change. …

“If it was up to me, I’d be with a walking cane out there. I don’t know, man. I think four to five years is a reality for me.”

The All-Pro safety is entering the final year of his reported six-year, $44.4 million contract. He’s scheduled to make $7.2 million next season and then will become a free agent, which should make for an interesting offseason in 2013.

Minus this offseason, Reed has been indecisive about his career at the end of each season since 2008. He has had to deal with a nerve impingement in his neck and shoulder. Additionally, he had reconstructive hip surgery during the 2010 offseason. That year he was “50-50″ about returning.

“His age (he turns 34 when the season begins) and his injury history suggest that a long-term deal is a risky proposition,” wrote Hensley.

He added: “The other problem is if the Ravens want to give a large signing bonus to a player who has been so indecisive about his future.”

Still, Reed is one of the best safeties to ever play the game. His leadership and game-changing ability is unparalleled. While his statistics dipped last season, Hensley pointed out that Reed’s presence is the biggest reason why the Ravens defense allowed an NFL-low 11 passing touchdowns.

“The only thing that’s clear at this point is Reed’s desire to play in 2012 and beyond,” wrote Hensley. “By this time next year, we’ll find out if the Ravens believe Reed can play that long, too.”

Bisciotti Prepared To Give Flacco, Rice ‘A Lot Of Money’

Interview With Steve Bisciotti

Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti is ready to make a big financial commitment in order to keep quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice.

“I am prepared to give out a lot of money to secure the foundation of our offense,” Bisciotti said in the video here.

His comment follows the sentiments he gave earlier this week, saying he feels a sense of urgency to get them signed to free up some salary-cap space.

The speed in which the deals get done will hinge on whether Flacco and Rice’s agents agree with Bisciotti and believe the number offered by General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Ravens cap guru Pat Moriarty is indeed “a lot of money.”

“Ozzie and Pat, they have their numbers.  Obviously their agents have their numbers,” said Bisciotti. “They certainly aren’t going to match up in the first couple of months of dealing with it, but I think it’s amicable. I think they know that we work hard and I think we’re earnest. I think we have a reputation with the agents of playing fair.”

Ravens Salary-Cap Update

The Ravens are now under the salary-cap limit by only $1.701 million with 46 players under contract, according to Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times.  This number does not include $1.5 million the team could opt to borrow against future years.

The franchise reportedly had $4.664 in cap space prior to the four deals made last week with linebacker Jameel McClain, three-time Pro Bowl special-teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo, new Pro Bowl special-teams ace Graham and safety and special-teams gunner Sean Considine.

Wilson breaks down the finances of the four latest contracts:

McClain: three years, $10.5 million, $3.6 million signing bonus; $1.9 million against the cap this year, $4.2 million in 2013 and $4.4 million in 2014

Graham: two years, $3.7 million, $1.2 million signing bonus

Ayanbadejo: three years, $3.21 million, $400,000 signing bonus

Considine: one year, $890,000, $65,000 signing bonus

With less than $2 million left to spend, one more acutely understands Biscotti’s urgency in re-signing Flacco and Rice. The team could also come to long-term agreements with cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams to create more breathing room.

Harbaugh said at the owners meeting on Tuesday that he feels fine about the Ravens’ financial standing and their ability to still make moves to shore up the roster.

We still have a little bit of room,” he said. “My math says we’ve got a few dollars left so we can do something. …

“If we need to do some things we can be creative and create some things.”

Quick Hits

  • What grade do the Ravens deserve in free agency so far? After losing three starters and five total players to the market, while retaining Rice, McClain and Matt Birk, Matt Williamson gives Baltimore a C grade. Hensley says it deserves a D. [Scouts Inc./ESPN]
  • Sisto Joseph Averno Sr., a guard who played on the Baltimore Colts in the 1950s and went on to sell Chevrolets for 57 years, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease Monday at Northwest Hospital. He was 86 and lived in Pikesville.Description: [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Is there something you are fearful about doing today? Listen to Ray Lewis’ motivational speech to Stanford before their game in the NIT tourney – he’ll help you muster up the courage. Shoot, he’ll make you feel like you can wrestle a bear with your bare hands.
  • Yo, Ryan Mink! We need another Mock Draft Monitor. Can you hook us up? It seems the trend for the Ravens’ first-round pick is shifting away from center Peter Konz and moving toward defensive players. []

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