The Baltimore Ravens sure know how to keep things interesting. With just minutes to spare before the 4:00 PM ET deadline for franchise players to ink multi-year deals, news broke on Monday that the Ravens and Ray Rice reached a long-term agreement. The two-time Pro Bowl running back signed a five-year $40 million deal which stipulates that Rice will receive $17 million this upcoming season, and $8 million in 2013. That’s 25 million reasons for Rice and fans alike to get excited that this 25-year old will sport black and purple for quite some time.
Rice’s agent, Todd France, said his client broke down into tears after getting the contract. “He’s following through on his promise to his mother,” reported France.
The media surrounding the looming deadline would lead you to think this deal would never get done. But Ravens fans and players knew better.
In a statement in the Ravens’ press release, general manager Ozzie Newsome had this to say:
“This is another example of [Ravens owner] Steve Bisciotti’s commitment to the team and to our fans to retain our core players. Ray has been an integral part of us earning the playoffs in each of his four seasons, and that includes helping us get to two AFC Championship games. His production on the field speaks for itself, and his leadership in the locker room is outstanding.”
I’ve mentioned previously that the Ravens have one of the best front offices in the league, anchored by Newsome and his methodical, carefully thought out approach to securing talent. He operates under the credo “Right player, right price.” His team struck in the nick of time with the Rice deal and presumably at the right price. Will he be able to continue this success and keep Joe Flacco and Ed Reed in Ravens uniforms as well? Time will tell. But until he shows signs that he’s losing his touch, any Ravens fan will tell you: “In Ozzie We Trust.”