Will Ray Stay?

Feb. 23, 2009, 5:36 PM


Ray Lewis and the Ravens go hand in hand. It is hard to think of the organization without Ray. And the way this team has played football for the last 13 years, seems to be an extension of # 52’s style of play.

Yet there is a strong possibility that come Friday morning, Ray Lewis will be a unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. Over the weekend, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said that the two parties are working on getting a deal done, but my gut says that it’s not going to happen.

Normally, there is no way a team would pay a 13 year veteran at middle linebacker the kind of money Ray is asking for. But then again, this isn’t a normal player we are talking about. No one can ever question the intensity and effort that Ray has brought to the table each Sunday over the course of his career. Another point that I don’t think can be argued is the fact that he raises the level of play of those around him. He is extremely unique in that sense, so he is justified in wanting a lucrative contract.

The Ravens’ mindset right now is probably this: Ray, thank you for everything you’ve done. You have represented this team and city tremendously. We would love to keep you around, but we believe that we wouldn’t be doing what’s financially best for the team by giving you, a 33 year old (34 in May), the money you’re asking for.

As for Ray, he has been quoted as saying it’s always been his dream to wear the Dallas Cowboys’ star on his helmet. Now the Cowboys might want Ray just like he wants them, but they would have to pay up to sign Ray and I think their mindset is similar to the Ravens. They wouldn’t be getting the best bang for their buck by throwing the big money at Lewis.

So will Ray go to some team other than the Ravens or Cowboys? If he is chasing the best offer, sure. But the Ray Lewis I have seen for the past 10+ years wants to win championships. I would have a hard time seeing him agree to a deal with say… the Lions, if they happened to have the best deal.

If he does sign with the Ravens, he could get a good deal now or test the free agent market and possibly get a great deal. But if no team wants to take the plunge on Ray, the Ravens will still offer him what they believe is a fair and competitive contract. But the thing is by the time that second opportunity comes along, it could be a far lesser amount because of the money the Ravens will have spent on new free agents and draft picks. They may want to give Ray what they originally offered, but can’t without going over the cap.

The Ravens will not let Ray hold them hostage. They have got to be saying to Ray: it’s now or never; take it or leave it.

I really hope the two can agree to terms, but the reality is this: It could be a tough end to a great era in Baltimore football history.


1 Response to “Will Ray Stay?”

  1. 1 Paul Kearney February 23, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    If he honestly expects to get the money he is asking for without hurting the team, then I say Bye Ray. Been a good 13 years, but Ozzie isn’t responsible for you sucking at controlling your cash.

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