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Ravens Unwilling To Come Close To “Adrian Peterson Type Money” For Ray Rice

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley reports that the Ravens have no intentions of giving Ray Rice “anything close” close to Adrian Peterson’s $96 million contract.

Hensley  adds that he expects the Ravens to use their franchise tag on him which has been the general consensus to this point.

The only problem with this strategy is that they run the risk of the negotiations becoming contentiousness between the two sides. If they’re unable to reach a deal by next season, the Ravens would be looking at a franchise tag of around $17 million or so which makes the long-term contract seem like a pretty good option at that point. The only problem is that they would have lost some leverage by then which would play into Rice’s favor.

This is already shaping up to be one of next years hot topics unless the Ravens are able to get something done in the coming weeks.

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SI.com‘s Peter King writes that Ravens RB Ray Rice is said to be seeking a deal similar to Adrian Peterson‘s seven-year contract worth $96 million and includes $36 million guaranteed.

King mentions that the Ravens obviously want to keep him in Baltimore far beyond the 2012 season but giving him that kind of money will force them to make even more tough decisions regarding some of their other free agents like Lardarius Webb.

Rice will almost certainly be franchised in the coming days so Baltimore will have him under contract for next season at a very reasonable $7.7 million.

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The Baltimore Sun writes that “it would be somewhat surprising if there was a [long-term] deal in place” between the Ravens and RB Ray Rice before the March 5th  franchise tag deadline.

This, basically, insinuates that the Ravens will be tagging their Pro Bowl running back in the coming weeks. Baltimore will still have an opportunity to get long-term contract in place before the start of next season. The tag will run the Ravens $7.7 million for the 2012 season so they’ll have to figure out some alternative ways to create some extra cap space for CB Lardarius Webb. Recent reports have mentioned that they’ve started contract negotiations with QB Joe Flacco but his is reportedly seeking a sizable contract so we’ll have to see what happens with that.

We have Rice listed as the #3 best available free agent in our Top 50 Free Agents list.