The Ravens' Kindle Solution

Paul StaggContributor IIJuly 30, 2010

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 07:  Linebacker Sergio Kindle #2 of the Texas Longhorns stretches before a game against the UCF Knights on November 7, 2009 at Darrell K Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.  Texas won 35-3.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

As Ravens training camp starts, so comes the optimism and excitement of a new NFL season.  There are high expectations for this 2010 Ravens squad, but along with those expectations is the disappointment that Sergio Kindle won’t be on the field.

As anyone who follows the Ravens knows, Kindle fell down a couple of flights of stairs and fractured his skull last week.  The sports talk stations and blogs are all buzzing about what this means for the young man and what it means for the Ravens.  There’s also some talk about what the Ravens should do with Kindle’s contract.

I’m not interested in the buzz about the fall.  Speculate all you wish, but I don’t care if it was narcolepsy, drunkenness, or tripping over a cat.  All I care is the guy has a full recovery from a serious injury; I hope for the best case scenario, that he fully recovers to the point he can continue his path to the professional football field.  But maybe he won’t.  His career might be done before it’s started.

So what should the Ravens do?  He hadn’t accepted their contract offer before the injury, and of course they have now withdrawn that offer, given he’s unable to play indefinitely.  What’s the ‘right’ thing to do?  What would Art Modell do?

I don’t have Steve Bisciotti’s money.  It’s his call, but I can tell you what I think he should do to help the kid out and secure him as a future player for the team when (if) he recovers and can play again.  I’m a little torn, as he had a chance to sign an offer and was waiting to see what would happen with other picks, but I’m sure the two sides would have reached an agreement before training camp started.

I would give him a $250,000 – $500,000 signing bonus so he doesn’t have to worry about money or medical bills this year.  The contract would be a 3 year deal at the rookie minimum, with bonuses tied to playing that would equate to the contract he was going to get.  Then put him on the PUP list, and if he can’t play this year, put him on IR, and see what happens.  If he really can’t play any more, release him at the end of the season.  He’ll have a little scratch in the bank, and can move on with his life.  If he can play, he’s in the organization.  (I’m assuming putting a player on IR means they don’t make their salary, although they often get a ‘settlement’, but I could be wrong about that.  The NFL salary stuff confuses me sometimes.)

Other than the up front signing bonus, there’s little risk to the Ravens, and the deal removes some of the uncertainty for Sergio Kindle, setting him up with enough money (certainly) to get through a year or two if he can’t play professional football.

While I’m spending my buddy Steve’s money, I’ll also get a new car for myself as compensation for this outstanding advice.  It’s going to be a great year of football!

Paul Stagg has a blog, and is on twitter.