No one with the Ravens knows whether running back Ray Rice will hold out of training camp to protest the franchise tag. Not even owner Steve Bisciotti.
"It’s realistic in the sense that other players do it. It’s not too realistic in the sense that, the kind of young man that Ray is," Bisciotti told the Baltimore Sun at the owners meetings. "This is all up to his agent’s strategy, but Ray is not the kind of guy that, I think, needs to pursue that angle."
Bisciotti is right that Rice has been a consummate team player. But, as we discussed previously on the AFC North blog, the Ravens made the best decision for the team when they placed the franchise tag on Rice, and he is within his rights to make the best decision for him. As the saying goes, it's not personal, it's business.
Texans running back Arian Foster signed a contract this month that includes $20.7 million guaranteed. Rice is only guaranteed $7.7 million under the tag. If Rice gets hurt in training camp, he hurts his chances of getting the big payday.
Rice has earned a new contract, accounting for 38 percent of the team's offense. He led the team in rushing (1,364 yards) and catches (76, which is 19 more than any other Raven) in 2011.
But, if Rice decides to miss a part -- or all -- of training camp, the Ravens are confident that he will be ready for the season.
"If his agent convinces him that he has to, Ray is not the kind of guy that we fear will come in out of shape," Bisciotti said. "If he does it, he does it. But I don’t think we’re going to see a drop-off in his performance this year."