Late For Work 5/18: Reed Quickly Backs Off Commitment Remarks

Will McCoy deal help Rice negotiations? Reed likened to ‘Spiderman’ star Tobey Maguire.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Friday, May 18th, 2012 at 8:59 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Reed Quickly Backs Off Commitment Remarks

Ed Reed created what is becoming an annual retirement stir yesterday morning by saying he’s not 100 percent committed to playing this year, on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

When asked by hosts Adam Schein and Rich Gannon if the Ravens know he’s not committed, Reed said, “I’m sure they will after this interview.” The Ravens safety added that he has contemplated retirement the last three years.

Shortly after the interview, however, Reed quickly backed off his statements.

“It’s not about retirement, it’s about my focus in the offseason, health, family and football,” Reed told the Carroll County Times. “This is the time of year where players think through things. My goal is to play football in the years to come.”

Reed’s confusing comments yesterday are a continuation of seemingly contradictory remarks throughout this offseason. In March, he said playing another four or five seasons is a “reality.” A few weeks later he said he wanted a new contract and didn’t feel he was getting enough respect. Then yesterday morning he wasn’t committed to playing in 2012, but hours later his goal is to come back.

So what is it, Ed? Do you want the Ravens to give you a long-term deal or are you going to retire?” asked ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “As I’ve said before, trying to get in the head of Reed is laborious, frustrating and often pointless. I won’t believe he is going to retire until he actually walks away from the game.”

The consensus among NFL analysts is that Reed will indeed play in 2012 because it would make little sense to forfeit the reported $7.2 million he’s scheduled to make this season, the last year on his current contract.

The back-and-forth may be Reed’s way of trying to get the Ravens to come to the negotiating table, says NFL Network’s Albert Breer.

“Before anyone panics too much about Ed Reed’s comments, there’s a sentiment out there that a big part of this is his desire for a new deal,” he tweeted.

The Ravens recently signed cornerback Lardarius Webb to a six-year extension, reportedly worth $50 million. They are also in contract talks with quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice.

“Perhaps this is Reed’s way of getting the Ravens’ attention,” Hensley wrote. “If this is truly about a contract, Reed is hurting himself by saying he’s not committed to this season. It wouldn’t be wise for the Ravens to give a big signing bonus to Reed if he’s not invested in playing for an extended period.”

But Reed insisted yesterday that there is more behind his thought process than getting a new deal. He spoke at length about his relationship with General Manager Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens. He said there was a lack of support and added there are “mental” issues they were going through.

“It has nothing to do with negotiating and all that, man,” Reed told SiriusXM. “It’s deeper than negotiating, man.”

Will McCoy Deal Help Rice Negotiations?

When news hit that Eagles running back LeSean McCoy got a five-year extension for $45 million, one Ravens player quickly took notice.

Nice well deserved,” tweeted Rice, who is trying to work out a new deal of his own.

The McCoy deal brings a little more clarity to the running-back market, which looks to be splitting into tiers.

The top tier includes the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson and the Titans’ Chris Johnson. McCoy’s deal plants him in a second tier with the Texans’ Arian Foster.

Peterson: 7 years, $36 million guaranteed
Johnson: 6 years, $30 million guaranteed

Rice: ???

Foster: 5 years, $20.75 guaranteed
McCoy: 5 years, $20.76 guaranteed

Which tier will Rice fall into? Or will he start a new tier of his own?

The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec believes Rice’s ultimate contract will be in the neighborhood of the Foster and McCoy deals. But Hensley writes the two sides will agree on a contract somewhere in the middle.

“What will likely get a deal done is finding a middle ground,” wrote Hensley. “Rice doesn’t belong at the top of the pay scale because he hasn’t averaged 13 rushing touchdowns over five seasons like Peterson and he doesn’t have a 2,000-yard rushing season on his resume like Johnson.

“But, based on the statistics, Rice deserves to get paid more than Foster and McCoy. … That’s why a five-year extension with $25 million guaranteed would be a fair deal for Rice.”

Agent Todd France and the Ravens have been in ongoing negotiations this offseason, according to The Baltimore Sun.

The Ravens have applied the $7.7 million franchise tag to Rice for 2012, but he has yet to sign the tender. He and the Ravens are both on record saying they want to work out a long-term deal and they have until July 16 to do so. If they don’t reach a new deal by that time, then Rice will have to play this season under the franchise tag.

Quick Hits

  • On former Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth possibly retiring … AlbertBreer: Got to know Foxworth covering the lockout…Was committed & one of the NFLPA’s most valued guys. Will be successful, whichever way he goes. [Twitter]
  • Ravens: #Ravens bring back undrafted free agent fullback Jamison Berryhill (Texas) [Twitter]
  • RayRice27: That aint real lol RT @losright1: I can’t stop laughing!!! [Twitter] (Photo to the right).
  • O.J. Brigance delivered an uplifting message at the year’s final meeting of Calvert Hall’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Pete Prisco listed his 100 top NFL players. Haloti Ngata landed at No. 25, Reed at 26, Marshal Yanda at 44, Rice at 52 and Webb at 76.  Flacco was one of 10 players who “just missed” the top 100. []
  • AnquanBoldin: In case you missed it, here’s the interview from recent visit to CNN news talking sports and philanthropy [Twitter/CNN/You Tube]

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