By Eric Schmidt

The Baltimore Ravens and RB Ray Rice have made no progress on a long-term deal according to Mike Florio of Rice, 25, is coming off his best season, finishing the 2011 campaign with over 2,000 total yards and 15 total touchdowns. If the two sides cannot come to an agreement, the Ravens will certainly place the franchise tag on Rice for next season. NFL clubs have between February 20 until March 5 to use the franchise tag on just one player.

The use of the franchise tag does not preclude another team from making a run at Rice, but they would have to likely surrender two first-round draft selections in order to acquire the former Rutgers running back. Rice is not the only concern for the Ravens at the running back position. The sudden retirement of Ricky Williams leaves Baltimore suddenly very thin at running back. While Rice shoulders the majority of the rushing duties for the Ravens, Williams did contribute 444 yards on the ground in 108 carries last season.

In related Baltimore Ravens contract news, the Ravens are expected to extend the contract of QB Joe Flacco. While the mention of extending Flacco’s contract didn’t raise too many eyebrows, Flacco’s agent’s words did. His agent, Joe Linta, speaking with the Baltimore Sun said his client deserves to be paid on the level of Patriots QB Tom Brady or on par with Saints QB Drew Brees.(Brees is currently without a contract but will become a highly paid quarterback even if he’s slapped with the franchise tag)

Mr. Linta tells the newspaper, “If the game is about wins and losses, he has to be in the top five (quarterbacks). He is a player who is extremely durable, never missed a game. And he’s done something that no one has ever done. In his first four years in the league, he has never missed a game and has more wins than any other quarterback.”

Now his comments are factually correct, but here is where the discussion regarding Joe Flacco begins. He has more wins, but he has no Super Bowl appearances or championships to show for that effort. Yes, Flacco has led the Ravens to the playoffs each season, but put him on a team with a sub-par defense, and see how many times he carries those teams into the playoffs.

Joe Flacco did out perform Tom Brady in the Ravens Patriots AFC Championship game, but in all reality, he has benefited from playing on a team with an annually strong, imposing defense and with a running back which has proven to be one of the best in the league.

Before the discussions about Joe Flacco being one of the top-five quarterbacks in the NFL starts, he needs to produce at least one championship first. I agree that Flacco has been a very reliable signal caller in the league and he deserves a raise, but to be considered on par with Drew Brees or a Tom Brady is a ludicrous idea.







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