The best quarterback in the league (deemed only by himself) and one of the best running backs in the league (deemed by many) are still in contract disputes with the Ravens. And even though there is this current dispute, I’m confident we’ll see at least one of them on the field by week one in the 2012 season.
Ray Rice is still trying to negotiate his new contract with the team, and if there is a Raven deserving of a new and better paying contract it’s him. Rice, performs extremely well against his division. He is hit or miss against the Steelers but has two 100+ yard games in seven games against them. He’s a very good receiving back, and one of the biggest complaints from fans about Rice is that he doesn’t get the ball enough – running or catching. Rice has decided to strap on his ‘hold out’ boots and refused to attend any of the workouts or minicamps. It hasn’t been fully reported if the team has fined him for his absence, but he was threatened with a $60,000 fine if he didn’t show up.
Joe ‘Didn’t You Know I’m The Best’ Flacco was vocal near the beginning of the offseason and let the world know he was unhappy that the Ravens had yet to leap at him with an offer. As things progressed (or rather didn’t) Flacco became even more vocal letting the world know that he was the best QB in the entire NFL. Well shoot, guys, why in the world don’t you have a contract in hand!? Oh wait, that’s right. Maybe it’s the late game chokes, the lack of ability to connect deep with your receivers, or the habit of not showing up to ‘the big ones’ that has the Ravens a little unsure how to handle the situation. With the rise of backup QB Tyrod Taylor during the workouts and mini camps, maybe the team is holding back a little bit. Or, maybe management feels that Flacco will handle this contract situation like he does games – a late collapse that will make him putty in their hands… you know, kind of like how the Steelers D usually handles this guy in the second halves of games… usually.
I could really see Flacco’s holdout lasting all the way to camp and then some. This could really just turn into one big game of chicken. Who will swerve first? There’s a lot of distractions and drama coming from the Ravens organization this offseason – hold outs of Rice and Flacco, Suggs’ ACL tear while playing basketball, Bryant McKinnie being held out of camps, OL Jah Reid injury/then not injured, and the mysterious no show of Ed Reed. Johnny Boy Harbaugh has his work cut out for him even before camp starts.
I’m fine with whatever distractions come out of this team. It’s fun to catch up on. Although, there’s something to be said about them being physically and mentally prepared when the play the Steelers. I want no excuses from them (highly unlikely) when they fall to the Black & Gold.