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Contracts 'Not That Far Off' For Rice, Flacco


The Ravens need to figure out a way to pay both Ray Rice and Joe Flacco. Owner Steve Bisciotti has an idea to make that happen.

Why not enlist the help of the team's new partner, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank?

"He is going to pay for Rice, I'm going to pay for Flacco," Bisciotti said jokingly to Plank during Friday's Under Armour Partnership announcement. "He doesn't know that yet."

If only it were that easy. Instead, the Ravens have to navigate the salary cap, which can make things a little trickier.

Getting the two signed to long-term contracts was a priority for the Ravens heading into the offseason, and while no new deals are currently in place, the final contract numbers appear to be close.

"I don't think they're that far apart, to be honest with you, in either of their contracts," Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said Friday.

When those contracts get done, however, remains more of a mystery.

Bisciotti admitted that it would be "speculation" to say whether he thinks the new deals will be in place before the 2012 season starts.

But he did leave the door open to getting them done during the season.

The team signed Haloti Ngata to a long-term contract while playing under the tag last season, and the same could potentially be true for Rice or even Flacco.

"We'll get it done," Bisciotti said. "They're certainly the kind of men we want associated with the Ravens and so there's no drawback to getting those guys done if we can get a deal that works for us, gives us the freedom to re-sign the next group of guys.

"Sooner or later, Ozzie and those agents come to the meeting of the minds where that player feels respected and we feel like we didn't break the bank and are going to produce a less-accomplished team because we overpaid for people."

Either way Rice and Flacco will both be in a Ravens uniform this fall.

Flacco has one year remaining on his rookie contact and Rice is currently franchised. Rice and the Ravens have until July 16 to work out a new deal or he would have to play the season under the $7.7 million franchise tag.

"They're both under contract with us," Bisciotti said. "Ray doesn't necessarily want to play under the franchise tag. Nobody does. But with that franchise tag, he'd make more in this year than he's made in the last four years combined. If that happens, I believe Ray will be here."

Rice has not participated in the team's voluntary offseason conditioning program and it's unknown whether he will attend mandatory minicamp when it begins next week.

Bisciotti has historically stayed out of the negotiating process and he's continuing to stick with that approach.

"If I worried about those things I'd be too distracted to do the things that matter to me," Bisciotti said. "That's why I hire [General Manager] Ozzie and [Assistant GM] Eric [DeCosta] and [Vice President of Football Administration] Pat Moriarty and let them do their job. My job is to call them and congratulate both of them when they do have long-term deals. Just like I called and congratulated them when they were drafted by us."

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