Flacco, Reed Are Next Long-Term Contract Priorities
PAIR OF STANDOUTS HAVE DIFFERING CIRCUMSTANCES
By Joe Platania
Now that Ravens franchise free agent running back Ray Rice has signed a long-term deal, the team's next major off-field priorities are sure to be quarterback Joe Flacco and free safety Ed Reed.
The pair is among 26 Ravens entering the final seasons of their current contracts (the team's contract status chart appears at the bottom of this article), but amid differing circumstances.
In Flacco's case, it is his five-year rookie deal that is expiring, the one he signed after being taken during the first round of the 2008 draft. Flacco and Rice are the only remaining Ravens from that year's 10-man draft class, one that included safeties Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura, both of whom departed in free agency this year.
(This week, multiple reports have put Flacco's chance of signing before training camp starts next week as "75 percent," even though the public tenor of negotiations has suggested that a deal would not be done until after the season.)
As for Reed, he signed his most recent contract in 2006, as he entered the final year of his first agreement with the team. Reed will turn 34 Sept. 11, the day after the team opens the 2012 season at home against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Reed, who has been beset by a neck impingement and other injuries during recent years, has sent out his typical conflicting signals about whether he plans to play this season, alternately saying that he has retired or that he could play four or five more years.
A more reliable bellwether of Reed's intentions could be middle linebacker and fellow University of Miami product Ray Lewis, who has indicated that Reed would indeed be in Baltimore and ready to report to camp when veterans are required to do so on Wednesday, July 25. The rookies start workouts July 24.
Reed missed four games in 2009 because of hip, groin and foot ailments, as well as the first six games of 2010 after hip surgery. But before that, the only time he had sat out was during a midseason six-game stretch in 2005 (ankle).
Despite varying opinions from both local and national observers, Flacco is generally seen as one of the league's above-average quarterbacks, having won more games (44) than any other signal-caller has ever won during the first four years of his career.
Flacco's career passer rating is 86.0, 12th-best among active quarterbacks, and his interception percentage is a miserly 2.3, tied for fourth-best with Jeff Garcia; Mark Brunell; Jason Campbell; and the quarterback with which he is most compared, Atlanta Falcons starter and 2008 draft-classmate Matt Ryan.
Not only that, Flacco's 46 career interceptions are tied for fifth fewest among those on the active list, a mark that he also shares with Ryan.
As for Reed, his 57 career interceptions lead all active players. That figure is tied for 11th on the all-time list with a group of five other players that include ex-Baltimore Colts standout Bobby Boyd and Hall of Fame safety Mel Blount.
Reed's next pickoff would vault him into a tie for 10th with Kansas City standout and Canton inductee Emmitt Thomas. Former Washington and Minnesota safety Paul Krause has the all-time record with 81.
Whenever Reed intercepts a pass, he tends to make it count. His 25.7-yard return average is the best in NFL history, outdistancing former Ravens corner Deion Sanders (25.1) and Glen Edwards (24.6).
Not only that, Reed's 1,463 total interception return yards rank second in league history, 20 yards behind former Baltimore safety Rod Woodson.
BALTIMORE RAVENS CONTRACT STATUS CHART
(year indicates final season of contract)
CURRENT FREE AGENTS (Four)
TE Kris Wilson, C Andre Gurode, LB Edgar Jones, RB Matt Lawrence
QB Joe Flacco, QB Curtis Painter, S Ed Reed, TE Ed Dickson, TE Dennis Pitta, WR David Reed, WR LaQuan Williams, T Ramon Harewood, T Bryant McKinnie, G Justin Boren, G Tony Wragge, NT Ma'ake Kemoeatu, NT Ryan McBean, DL Arthur Jones, LB Paul Kruger, LB Sergio Kindle, LB Albert McClellan, LB Dannell Ellerbe, LB Chavis Williams, LB Josh Bynes, S Emanuel Cook, S Sean Considine, CB Cary Williams, CB Danny Gorrer, LS Morgan Cox, LS Patrick Scales
WR Anquan Boldin, WR Jacoby Jones, T Michael Oher, G Bobbie Williams, FB Vonta Leach, NT Terrence Cody, CB Corey Graham, DE Michael McAdoo, QB John Brantley
C Matt Birk, LB Terrell Suggs, LB Brendon Ayanbadejo, LB Jameel McClain, CB Jimmy Smith, WR Torrey Smith, T Jah Reid, WR Tandon Doss, DE Pernell McPhee, CB Chykie Brown, QB Tyrod Taylor, RB Anthony Allen
DT Haloti Ngata, LB Ray Lewis, G/T Marshal Yanda, S Bernard Pollard, K Billy Cundiff, P Sam Koch, LB Courtney Upshaw, G/T Kelechi Osemele, RB Bernard Pierce, G/C Gino Gradkowski, S Christian Thompson, CB/RS Asa Jackson, WR Tommy Streeter, DE DeAngelo Tyson
RB Ray Rice
CB Lardarius Webb
Posted July 19, 2012