It’s no secret the Baltimore Ravens need running back Ray Rice to be all in for the 2012 season.
The question this whole offseason has been: will management and Rice be able to come together and bang out a long-term contract extension before talks turn sour?
Well, according to NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones, per Dan Hazus, there’s optimism in the Ravens organization that a long-term deal for the fifth-year veteran can get worked out, though it might not happen until July.
As I wrote on Tuesday, the deadline for Rice and the Ravens to hammer out a new deal is July 16. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement by then, he will play under the $7.7 million franchise tag.
Last season, Rice’s 2,068 yards from scrimmage were the most in the league. In fact, he set career-high’s in both rushing yards (1,364) and receiving yards (704). Moreover, he set career-high’s in rushing touchdowns (12) and receiving touchdowns (three).
The market value for elite running backs was established earlier this offseason, setting the bar for both the Ravens and Rice.
If the Ravens and Rice come to terms on a long-term deal, he’ll likely get an extension in the neighborhood of what Arian Foster (four-year, $43.5-million extension with $20.75 million guaranteed) and LeSean McCoy (five-year, $45-million extension with $20.76 million guaranteed) recently received from the Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively.
These types of deals take time and do not happen overnight, so Ravens fans should remain patient.