Baltimore Ravens executive vice president and general manager Ozzie Newsome announced Friday the team designated running back Ray Rice as the franchise player, and in addition, have terminated the contracts of cornerback Chris Carr and wide receiver Lee Evans.
The Ravens’ prized running back will be guaranteed a one-year contract equivalent to the average amount of the top five paid players at his position, which will be around $7.7 million.
Durability is the major concern regarding running backs in the NFL for the pounding their bodies take from such faster and stronger defenders. Rice has been the complete machine. Since he took over as the Ravens’ featured back, the Rutgers graduate started all 48 games during the regular season and has not shown that he is slowing down.
For his career, Rice registered 4,377 yards off 959 carries and 24 rushing touchdowns. In addition, Rice accumulated 2,235 receiving yards off 250 receptions and five touchdowns.
The Ravens’ goal is to keep Rice in Baltimore for the long haul and tagging continues to give them that chance.
“As we have in the past, placing the franchise designation on a player allows us to keep negotiating on a long-term contract,” said Newsome, according to a released statement from the team. “Our goal is to keep Ray Rice a Raven. We’ve done this with other outstanding players through our history, including Haloti Ngata a year ago.”
Newsome also made news by releasing Carr and Evans.
However, according to the Hall of Fame tight end, Newsome says they may return.
“Each year, we have to make tough, difficult decisions to manage our roster,” said Newsome. “Chris Carr and Lee Evans were valuable Ravens, and both helped us get to the AFC Championship game and the brink of the Super Bowl last season with the way they played and the maturity they added to the locker room. Chris was instrumental in helping us earn the playoffs the last three seasons.
“As we talked about when we informed Chris and Lee of these moves, this does not close the door on them coming back to the Ravens,” he added.
According to a source, the Ravens are making attempts to keep their Pro Bowl offensive lineman Ben Grubbs in Baltimore.
Barry Barnes is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.