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Late For Work 2/14: Ray Rice's Advice To Joe Flacco


Ray Rice's Advice To Joe Flacco

Ray Rice knows what it's like to go into an offseason with looming contract negotiations.

Just last year he was an unrestricted free agent looking for a big deal.

Now quarterback Joe Flacco is in the same boat, hoping to get a new contract that will keep him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. As Flacco and his agent, Joe Linta, go through negotiations in the coming weeks, Rice has some advice for his quarterback. 

"Don't get involved with it," Rice said during an appearance on NFL AM. "Don't get personal with it. Just continue to do what you've always done. That's why you have agents and other people that can handle that kind of stuff. The business side always takes care of itself. You just have to let everything iron itself out."

Things ended up working out just fine last year for Rice, who agreed to a 5-year $40 million contract with the Ravens.  Rice was initially franchised, but the two sides worked out a long-term deal before the season.

The Ravens could try a similar approach with Flacco, who Rice said deserves to be one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL.

"This is a right-now league," Rice said. "And right now what Joe Flacco has done, I believe he is the best quarterback playing. … This was Joe Flacco's time where he led us to a Super Bowl. You always need a great quarterback to take you over the top, and he's done it."

Another question for the Ravens this offseason is whether wide receiver Anquan Boldin is back with the team next year. He's signed through next season, but he's been mentioned as a possible salary-cap casualty because the Ravens are strapped for cash.

Rice hopes that's not the case.

"I would definitely want that guy back next year," Rice said. "But like I said, the business side – we all know what it is. We all signed up for this and said after this Super Bowl season, this team is not going to be the same next year. The locker room is going to be a little bit different. We all accept that. But Boldin is definitely a guy that I would love to have back."

Boldin said recently that he would not put on another uniform, and that he’d actually retire if he couldn't continue with the Ravens. Some have doubted if Boldin would really call it a career, but Rice is taking the veteran receiver at his word.

"No. 1, Boldin is a Raven," Rice said. "And he's definitely serious about what he says. He's always been a man of his word. He has nothing to prove in terms of stats anymore."

Rice Jokes About Falling Off Float

As part of his appearance on the NFL Network, Rice joked about a somewhat embarrassing (and potentially dangerous) moment during the Ravens' victory parade last week.

Rice fell off his float on the parade route, toppling into the street (video below). In typical Rice fashion, he bounced right back up and played off the fall like it was no big deal.

"You know there's no such thing as a good fall, but I fell like a champ," he joked.

"I try not to put the blame on people. I try to take the responsibility. But you see our driver stopped short and I was embracing the fans and I fell. But I'm just glad nothing bad happened. I fell, got back up and started smiling again, and that's what it was all about."

McKinnie Wants To Come Back

One of the Ravens set to hit the free-agent market is veteran offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie, who started every game at left tackle in the postseason.

The Ravens could be open to bringing back McKinnie, who wants to stay in Baltimore, according to his agent. 

"Bryant would want to come back," his agent Michael George told The Baltimore Sun. "He likes it there. He likes the situation, the way it is now. He's a free agent, so it's up to the Ravens what happens next obviously."

The Ravens were impressed with the way McKinnie played down the stretch after an up-and-down season. The plan appears to be to let McKinnie hit the open market, but he could ultimately end up returning to the Ravens.

"The intention is to see what the market says," George said. "If the Ravens want to do something, we're definitely open to that. Obviously, it has to be right numbers for both sides."

Could Flacco Contract Push Out Birk?

Another veteran offensive lineman whose future is up in the air is veteran center Matt Birk, who is contemplating retirement.

But even if Birk opts to return, explains that it could be tough for the Ravens to afford him depending on the deal Flacco gets. The other interesting element is that Flacco and Birk are represented by the same agent, who has to balance the interests of both clients.

"With Flacco swinging for the financial fences, the Ravens may not be able to afford Birk's $2.75 million salary," wrote Mike Florio. "And with both guys represented by Joe Linta, at a certain point Linta's push to get one of his clients as much as possible is going to hurt one of his other clients."

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