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Late For Work 7/19: Ravens ‘Very Aggressive’ In Flacco Talks

Ravens to allow Reed to hit free agency. What the heck is going on this week?

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Thursday, July 19th, 2012 at 8:57 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Ravens ‘Very Aggressive’ In Flacco Talks

It took less than an hour for media to refute and cast doubt on yesterday’s NFL.com report that claimed there’s a 75 percent chance that a long-term deal with quarterback Joe Flacco will get done by the start of training camp next week.

But ESPN’s Chris Mortensen says it’s true, adding that the Ravens have stepped on the gas pedal.

“The Ravens have gotten very aggressive with their contract negotiations with Flacco and I was able to confirm that they’re about 75 percent sure they can get this done by training camp, which is really over the next week,” Mortensen said. “And if not by training camp, pretty early into training camp.”

Mort added that instead of waiting to use the franchise tag at the end of the season, the Ravens plan on signing him soon.

Flacco’s agent, Joe Linta, doesn’t appear to be in a hurry, which may be why some have their doubts about the optimistic timetable.

“We are talking and will continue to talk,” Linta told The Baltimore Sun. “[Ravens Vice President of Football Administration] Pat Moriarty is a class act and I enjoy dealing with him. We — and the Ravens, I think — have no timetable.”

The Ravens don’t publicly talk about contract negotiations, but Owner Steve Bisciotti has said that he would like to get Flacco an extension before the five-year veteran enters the final year of his rookie contract. Obviously, that deadline is only days away, which could explain the push.

Flacco is reportedly scheduled to make a $6.76 million base salary in 2012 if a new deal is not struck.

Ravens To Allow Reed To Hit Free Agency

If the Flacco negotiations work out, the Ravens front office will still have that nice little bargaining tool, the franchise tag, to use on another player.

And since newly signed running back Ray Rice won’t need it either, the next logical person could be future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed.

But don’t count on Reed getting tagged either, says Mortensen.

“Don’t forget the Ravens once let Ray Lewis test the market with his last contract and their philosophy is, ‘Ray, we’ll prove to you we love you more with our offer. If you want to go out and compare the offers to others,’” Mortensen said.

“I think they’ll do the same thing with Ed Reed.”

The Ravens reportedly presented a contract extension to Reed two days before 2011 season-opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which the 33-year-old veteran turned down.

As such, Reed will have to play out the final year of his contract in 2012, where he’ll reportedly earn $7.2 million. And in case you missed it, Reed announced yesterday that he will indeed play this season and will report to training camp next week.

The Ravens will offer him another deal at season’s end, according to Mort, and if the All-Pro wants to find out if he can get a better offer elsewhere, the Ravens won’t try to stop him.

What’s Going On This Week?

What is going on this week in Charm City?

All the craziness that was supposed to cause major distractions when the Ravens open training camp on July 25 seems to be dissipating.

First, Rice signs his long-term deal literally minutes before the tag deadline on Monday. Then, Reed says on Wednesday that he’s going to play this season and not hold out. Finally, the Ravens are ratcheting up negotiations with Flacco and reportedly hope to get a deal done before camp.

What’s next? Will Terrell Suggs have a miraculous recovery from his Achilles tendon tear?  OK, OK, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

Of course the Flacco talk is just rumors at this point, and as The Sun’s Matt Vensel points out, the mercurial Ravens safety could change his mind (again) about playing this season.

But the point is, the Ravens haven’t had the best of offseasons, yet it seems to be ending with a stream of positive developments that could give the organization “palpable momentum” heading in camp, says CSNBaltimore.com’s John Eisenberg.

And if the Ravens can pull it all off, “their offseason will have gone from ‘ehhh’ to solidly productive in a matter of days.

Jamal Lewis Likes Where Offense Is Heading

Jamal Lewis has kept his eye on the Ravens offense, and he likes what he sees.

The franchise’s all-time leading rusher specifically likes the development of the passing game.

I like where the offense is heading,” Lewis told The Sun. “They are passing the ball better. They’re still trying to find those wide receivers. I think they’re molding a few, a good package of receivers to go along with Flacco. I like their style of play. I like the way they move the ball. I like the way they play together. They do rely on the backfield a lot because they are still getting things situated with the downfield passing game.”

Lewis praised Rice as one of the few every-down backs left in the NFL, but believes the passing game will have to develop more in order to beat the best.

Baltimore can “most definitely” win the Super Bowl with this offense, says Lewis. He also believes the Ravens would have won it all last year had receiver Lee Evans held onto the game-winning touchdown pass in the AFC championship and advanced to play the New York Giants.

Quick Hits

  • @RayRice27: Feels good to see my high school jersey retired next to pro jersey hanging in high school gym [Twitter]
  • Ray Lewis is the 11th-best player in the AFC North, says Jamison Hensley. “If the rankings were based on all-time impact, Lewis would unquestionably sit at No. 1. Because this is a projection for the 2012 season, Lewis is just outside of the top 10, which is pretty amazing considering he turned 37 in May,” he wrote.
  • If you’ve got 90 bones, you can get a message and an autograph from Suggs on Saturday at the sporting goods store Poor Boys in Abingdon. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Noting that locking up Rice was a “huge boon” to the franchise, Chris Burke gives the Ravens’ offseason a B-minus grade. [SI.com]
  • Random thoughts in a stream of tweets by Paul Kruger … @pkruger99: Let’s think of all the ways on first appearance how you can tell if someone is a [tool]..? I guess I’ll start with extra LOW v-neck. I have to also say the black frame obviously fake non prescription/ prescription glasses. Sunglasses at night is definitely at top of the list, we can also include females they aren’t excluded from this! hate to say it because a lot of people I know wear them., however, finger shoes or those shoes with individual toes.. [Twitter]
  • @KOsevendeuce [Kelechi Osemele]: Crossing Raven Street…in Chicago…weird [Twitter]
  • Speaking of … Adam Rank wants to know which NFL city is better: Chicago or Baltimore? He has a very detailed argument for each. [NFL.com]
  • @Tandondoss: I will never understand women… [Twitter]
  • @JameelMcClain: It was 140 degrees on the football field.. I just got 2 shades darker lol [Twitter]

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