Winner: Ray Rice
It came down to the wire, but the stud running back inked a long-term deal with the Ravens just before the deadline to sign players who had been tendered with a franchise tag.
The deal is a rich one for Rice, in which he makes $40 million over five years, $24 million of which is guaranteed—all this during a time when running back values are being marginalized, at least in perception.
With Rice locked up for the rest of his prime, the Ravens can use next year's franchise tag for Joe Flacco if necessary.
Loser: Ray Lewis
Rice's contract notwithstanding, the Ravens have had a bit of a rough offseason personnel-wise.
The Ravens almost reached the Super Bowl and they should still be a good team in 2012. But standing still is death in this league and the Ravens have not done much to improve this offseason. Losing Terrell Suggs was a big blow to the defense, which also lost Jarrett Johnson to free agency.
They also did little to improve their receiving corps, unless sixth-round rookie Tommy Streeter or perennial disappointment Jacoby Jones are impressive enough to supplant Anquan Boldin.
The clock has been ticking on Ray Lewis' career for years now. He will eventually have to retire, and it might happen soon for the 36-year-old thumper.
Every year the Ravens fail to win a Super Bowl is just one closer to the end of the future Hall of Famer's career. Unfortunately, the Ravens do not seem closer to getting Lewis back to the promised land this year.