Baltimore Ravens 2012 Free Agency: Is Ray Rice's Deal Close to Getting Done?

Alex Guy@@AWGuy19Correspondent IFebruary 11, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22:   Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens in action against the New England Patriots during their AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Does recently retired RB Ricky Williams know something we don't? Early this morning, Williams posted on his Twitter account: "I'm excited for my boy Ray Rice, he is about to get PAID. Deserves it."

After Rice's Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach retweeted Williams' post, the question of Rice's contract negotiations needs to be asked. While there is no question Rice is due for a large payday, many around the organization have speculated the Ozzie Newsome and the rest of the Ravens front office would place the franchise tag on the talented young runner.

Rice's contract talks could also have a major impact on the team's ability to retain Pro Bowl guard and former first-round selection Ben Grubbs. If the Ravens can reach an agreement with Rice soon, the team would be free to place the franchise tag on Grubbs and keep him in a Ravens uniform for at least one more season.

After giving its other Pro Bowl guard, Marshal Yanda, a five-year, $32 million deal last offseason, it was thought that the Ravens would need to offer Grubbs similar money to retain him. By placing the franchise tag on him, Newsome would keep Grubbs from the open market and teams desperate for offensive line help.

In the latest Sporting News list of the top 100 free agents, Grubbs was listed at No. 37, the second-best guard available behind the New Orleans Saints' Carl Nicks. Although Rice is rated as the third-best free agent, most people around the league never seriously considered he would accept bids outside of Baltimore.

So does Williams' tweet mean anything? Ravens fans looking to keep Rice and Grubbs better hope so.