Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice has put the franchise he has spent his entire career with in a very precarious position.
Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com discussed the difficult decisions facing Baltimore in the wake ofRice’s recent arrest for assault, in which he allegedly struck his fiancee at a casino rendering her unconscious.
Hensley writes that Baltimore is in a “lose-lose situation,” as keeping Rice will likely elicit negative fan and media scrutiny. Releasing him, however, would actually cost Baltimore $5.5 million in cap space because of pro-rated bonuses.
Hensley raises the possible solution of designating Rice as a post-June 1st release, but such a move would be somewhat shortsighted, as the $4 million in available cap space for 2014 would be outweighed by the $9.5 million in dead money owed to Rice in 2015. Rice is under contract until 2017.
According to OverTheCap.com, the Ravens have an estimated $11.8 million in cap space for the 2014 season, but Rice’s hefty contract will likely prohibit the Ravens from adding a big name to the backfield.
Rice ran for a career-worst 3.1 yards per carry in 2013, but the team’s investment in him as their feature back is substantial. Bernard Pierce is under contract until 2016, but the Temple product has only been used as a complementary piece to this point, and struggled mightily last year as well, registering a 2.9 yard-per-carry average.
CSN Baltimore’s Clifton Brown mentioned that the Ravens could target a running back during the later rounds of this year’s NFL Draft, so that could be something to keep an eye on.
Hensley also believes the Ravens should consider all of their options at running back, especially during this weekend’s Scouting Combine.