Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice hasn't made it a secret that he wants a long-term contract from the Ravens. What isn't known is if Rice will hold out from offseason activities.
Rice, according to The Baltimore Sun, said he has outplayed his contract. The big question, though, is do the Ravens agree?
"Well, that was a rookie contract, so, yes. I think, I like to think, that every player, with the Ravens, that we draft, hopefully outplays their first contract. So yes, he has," general manager Ozzie Newsome said at the team's pre-draft luncheon.
The Ravens are currently negotiating with Rice to get a deal done long term, but Rice's value is something that can be questioned considering the NFL has shifted to more of a passing league.
Rice, according to a February report on ProFootballTalk.com, wants Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson money, which was $100 million over seven years. However, it doesn't sound like the Ravens are willing to give Rice that kind of deal.
"Well, we're happy with the progress we're making with negotiations, but to say that from where he was to where we've put the franchise tag on him, that's a significant increase," Newsome said.
Rice was the most productive player on the Ravens' offense last season, but it's difficult to project how running backs will do year to year because of the nature of the position.
It's obvious the Ravens would like to sign Rice at some point this offseason. Hopefully, that time comes before training camp.
One incentive for the Ravens to get a deal done would be to free up salary cap space. The Ravens, at the moment, are reportedly tight against the cap and one way to free up cap space would be to sign Rice, or some of the Ravens' other players, to a long-term contract.
"Well, we have ongoing talks with all four," Newsome said, referring to Rice, quarterback Joe Flacco and cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams. "And just as I stated earlier, we have ways, if there's a good player, you know, whether we get a deal done with Joe (Flacco) or Lardarius (Webb) or Ray, we have ways of being able to get that player.
"The reason why we want to get the long-term deals done with those players is because we like them and we want them to be in Baltimore a long time because they have been very helpful for us to get us to this point and they're going to be helpful for us to take the next step."