Baltimore Ravens: $10 Million Could Separate RB Ray Rice from the Team

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Baltimore Ravens: $10 Million Could Separate RB Ray Rice from the Team
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Yesterday morning, Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun posted an article claiming that progress had been made in contract negotiations with Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.

Today, Jamison Hensley of ESPN dispelled that theory, claiming that while the two sides are in talks, no progress has been made on a new deal.

Hensley's logic on the matter is simple. He claims that Rice is likely after a deal similar to that of Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson, which amounts to about $30 million in guaranteed money.

The Ravens would likely rather get a contract in place more similar to that of Houston Texans running back Arian Foster or Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, which amounts to $20.75 million and $20.76 million guaranteed, respectively.

If this is indeed the case, the two sides would have to bridge the gap of about $10 million.

To put things in perspective, consider the production of these backs in their respective contract seasons:

 

Chris Johnson (2010 Season)

  • 316 attempts
  • 1,364 yards
  • 12 touchdowns
  • 44 receptions
  • 245 yards

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Arian Foster (2011 Season)

  • 278 attempts
  • 1,224 yards
  • 12 touchdowns
  • 53 receptions
  • 617 yards

 

 

LeSean McCoy (2011 Season)

  • 273 attempts
  • 1,309 yards
  • 20 touchdowns
  • 48 receptions
  • 315 yards

 

Ray Rice (2011 Season)

  • 291 attempts
  • 1,364 yards
  • 15 touchdowns
  • 76 receptions
  • 704 yards

 

From a statistical standpoint, Rice was the most productive of the group the year that contract negotiations took place, which is likely why he feels he deserves more money.

But since Johnson signed his deal, the market for running backs has declined. The NFL is becoming an increasingly aerial league, and while a running back is still necessary, teams are no longer willing to pay the same price for one.

In the end, Rice probably deserves a little more money than McCoy and Foster, as he is a more essential part to his team's offense. But the Ravens have too many other stars to take care of to give him the money that he continues to demand.

As the July 16 deadline to get a deal done approaches, it appears more and more likely that Rice will reluctantly play under the $7.7 million franchise tag during the 2012 NFL season. 

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