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Deadline Looms for Ravens and Rice

The Deadline is 4 P.M. Today.

Today is the day.

After months of speculation the question will finally be answered by 4 p.m. this afternoon, Will the Ravens be able to sign Ray Rice to a long-term extension, or will they continue playing bingo at trying to make him hold his breath for a good offer?

If a deal can not be reached then Rice would play under the Franchise tag for $7.7 million for this coming season. The Ravens would also have to wait until next off-season to attempt to lock of Rice long term again.

Both sides have been fairly quiet as of late and most reports have a sizable gap between the two in terms of Rice’s compensation and what a fair market value contract would look like for the star runner.

Of course everything can change quickly once the prospect of a deadline is staring everyone in the face. There was concern that Ravens might not  have been able to sign massive Defensive Tackle Haloti Ngata to an extension last year. Three hours before the time limit was up Ngata had agreed to a 5-year $61 million dollar deal.

Who knows at this point what will happen but signing Rice today would be important for a host of reasons. First, it would secure the team’s top Offensive weapon for the long term. Second, Rice would essentially become the face of the Ravens future on and off the field. Rice has become tremendously involved around town, most recently with his Anti-Bullying rally held in Howard county just a few days ago. Third, it’s been a tough off-season for the Ravens who lost several free agents and Terrell Suggs to injury. Signing Rice would eliminate another possible distraction and allow the team to focus on Quarterback Joe Flacco’s deal for next season. Fourth, the Ravens could get themselves some cap relief, which they desperately need. Currently they are dead last in the league in terms of cap space at under a million dollars.

If a deal isn’t reached this afternoon Rice still must decide to sign the Franchise tender. If he doesn’t it would possibly lead to a messy holdout. There doesn’t appear to be any concern about that since Rice is known as a team player and would most likely handle the situation professionally. However, there is always a chance.

Signing Rice today would be a first step in getting a growing list of issues in order heading into Training Camp. As usual we’ll just wait and see.

What do you think? Do the Ravens and Rice get it done today?


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