Despite media reports this afternoon which suggest that Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice has suggested he wants an Adrian Peterson type deal, ESPN is reporting that the Ravens running back will likely receive the franchise tag in back-to-back seasons by the club.
SI.com reported this morning that Ray Rice was seeking a Peterson-esque deal, (100 million for seven years and $36 million guaranteed). However, as ESPN reports this afternoon, the Ravens could place the franchise tag on Rice for the next two seasons and the talented running back would only cost the franchise around $17 million dollars.
Something which has to be turning heads in the NFL is that offering running backs huge numbers and long-term deals isn’t a formula which appears to be working out in ownership’s favor. In what is becoming a pass-oriented league with more and more teams utilizing running backs by committee approach, offering up huge amounts of money, especially guaranteed money is simply not wise any longer.
Owners need simply to look at what the Tennessee Titans did with RB Chris Johnson this season and his $50 + million dollar contract, and he failed to deliver on the field this season. I’m not suggesting that Ray Rice won’t show up and deliver next year if he’s offered up a huge contract with millions in guaranteed money, but the running back position is becoming less and less of a priority with the game switching to more and more production from the passing game.
From a business perspective, this move makes perfect sense for the Ravens organization, while trying to sort out what to do with QB Joe Flacco. However, you have to wonder how Ray Rice will respond with the organization slapping the franchise tag on him once again next season if the Rutgers product is able to post another 2,000+ all-purpose yardage season.