For the Baltimore Ravens, voluntary off-season workouts start this coming Monday, April 16th. Though the first mandatory mini-camp for all players, including veterans, doesn’t take place until June, the Ravens would surely like to have as many pieces together as possible for these preliminary team activities.
As most are aware, the Ravens and Rice are currently negotiating the terms of a new contract for Rice who, through rushing and receiving last season, garnered 2,068 total yards and 15 TDs. As the Ravens’ top offensive weapon, it is imperative that the two sides can reach an agreement in the near future.
(After the "Jump", more on Rice’s contract status and another player who will skip out on the workouts this coming week.)
The Ravens slapped Ray Rice with the franchise tag about a month ago. The franchise tag for running backs this off-season carries a base salary of about $7.7 million. At this time, Rice has yet to sign the offered tender and he’s probably wise not to. Rice won’t have to settle for the franchise tag option until the July 15th deadline, where after said date, that will be his only contract choice. That leaves plenty of time between now and the middle of summer for the Ravens and Rice to reach an agreement that both sides are comfortable with.
Rice is probably also wise in not attending these early off-season workouts because; let’s face it, nothings guaranteed. Should Rice get injured during some of these workouts without a new contract in place, he’d be putting his financial future in jeopardy.
Certainly at this time, no one should worry that Rice is skipping out on these team activities. They’re voluntary and it’s not uncommon around the league for players currently undergoing contract talks to skip these early spring workouts.
According to similar reports, cornerback Cary Williams is also opting to not participate in the upcoming team workouts. Also undergoing contract talks and as a restricted free agent, Williams has yet to sign his 2nd-round tender which carries a base salary of $1.93 million for the upcoming season. Though he hasn’t signed his tender, Williams did sign-off on a special waiver which allows him to workout with the team without formally agreeing to the tendered salary. It appears that Williams would like to take part but would rather sit back and wait for his contract to be handled as well as try to fully recover from off-season hip surgery.
So far, there’s no reason to worry if some players opt to skip these early workouts. Generally these early workouts are for the younger players to come in and get a leg-up heading into the grueling summer time training camps.