Ravens Rumors: Flacco, Rice, Lewis, Reed, Evans, Webb, Grubbs, Pollard

Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times takes a look at all of the decisions that the Baltimore Ravens will be faced with in the months ahead.

Joe Flacco 

Both Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and head coach John Harbaugh have said that Flacco is their long-term solution at quarterback so a new contract appears to be on the horizon. Flacco will be entering the final year of his rookie which will net him a $6.76 million base salary and a $2.1 million roster bonus.

This could be a difficult situation for the Ravens as Flacco could be looking for a pretty large commitment from the team. You’d have to think that the deal will eventually get done but it could take longer than expected.

Ray Rice

Wilson sees the Ravens using their franchise tag on Rice to buy some time to negotiate a long-term contract which is exactly what they chose to do with DT Haloti Ngata last season. The franchise tag will run Baltimore $7.7 million for the season but that appears to be just a formality.

Ray Lewis & Ed Reed

Wilson groups Lewis and Reed together because of there were rumors that both players could retire at the end of the season but Lewis has said that he’s coming back and it’s believed by many within the organization that Reed will return as well.

Wilson mentions that despite getting both of them for another season, the team will most like be looking for their long-term replacements during the offseason.

Lewis carries a $4.95 million base salary which grows to a $6.85 million cap figure and Reed will make $7.2 million next season which counts as $8.5 million against the cap.

Lee Evans 

Wilson mentions that the Ravens are not expected to keep Evans for another season as he has a very large cap figure of $5.607 million and a $1 million roster bonus due on March 18th. Wilson does mention the possiblity of the Ravens keeping him if he’s willing to renegotiate his contract.

Bryant McKinnie

McKinnie wound up being a much better contributor this season than many believed he would. McKinnie’s base salary of $3.2 million will count as $4.2 million against the cap and requires a $500,000 roster bonus.

Keeping him seems to make sense as quality left tackles can cost quite a bit more than that but Wilson mentions that his conditioning could have impact on the teams decision.

Bernard Pollard

Simply put, the Ravens will keep Pollard because of his production and his very affordable salary of $1.25 million.

Free Agents:

  • Center Matt Birk is contemplating retirement so there’s a chance that they’ll be looking for a replacement in the coming months. Wilson mentions that Andre Gurode could take over for Birk if he chooses to retire.
  • Ben Grubbs will be hard to keep considering that they’ve already invested heavily in the guard position and their biggest needs are at tackle. There will be plenty of interest in Grubbs on the open market so I wouldn’t expect to see him back next season.
  • Wilson mentions that OLB Jarret Johnson would be one of the hardest guys to replace and thinks that there’s a good chance that they’ll be able to work something out, possibly a short-term deal.
  • ILB Jameel McClain has proven to be a quality player and Wilson mentions that his salary requirements would make him a pretty good value when you consider that he was able to fill in for Ray Lewis quite well last season.
  • Wilson writes that keeping DE Cory Redding is a “judgement call” for the Ravens as they’ll have to stick with a proven leader or go with some of their young talent.
  • Of the two safeties, Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura, Wilson sees Baltimore retaining Nakamura because of his ability to help out on special teams and because Zbikowski ultimately lost his starting job during the season.
  • Wilson mentions that the Ravens “are expected to extend high enough qualifying offers to prevent them from losing” CB Lardarius Webb.

There’s more in the article but we covered the good majority of decisions that the Ravens will have to decide on. Not every team has this many players to address so you can expect to hear a lot about the Ravens when free agency starts in March.

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