The three-time Pro Bowler will surely have his fair share of suitors if he’s allowed to test free agency, but the Ravens are hopeful that doesn’t happen.
Unfortunately, hope doesn’t always result in progress.
The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec reported last week that “there’s a sizable gap between Ricard and the Ravens” when it comes to contract talks. He continued by saying “there will have to be quite a bit of compromise on both sides to get a deal worked out.”
That certainly doesn’t sound like an extension is anywhere close to happening. Given the Ravens’ tight cap situation, they may not be able to afford to pay Ricard what he’s asking for and likely would get from another team.
The Ravens may not be able to re-sign Patrick Ricard
By all accounts, Ricard is one of the best fullbacks in the NFL, if not the best. He’s made the Pro Bowl in three consecutive seasons and has proved his value on and off the field. This Ravens offense needs Ricard for things to click.
They can ill-afford to lose him, but they may not have a choice. Ricard is currently the second-highest-paid fullback in the NFL behind Kyle Juszczyk and he could be looking to get paid Juszczyk money.
If so, the Ravens might have to pay him upwards of $5 million per year. Considering they only have roughly $14 million in cap space (pre-roster moves), that’s a large chunk of their remaining cap.
To complicate matters, the Ravens re-signed former fifth-round pick Ben Mason this past week after his practice squad contract with the Chicago Bears expired.
The Ravens drafted Mason last year in part to be insurance and a possible future replacement for Ricard. They foresaw a situation like this, and the decision to re-sign him could be an indicator of how contract talks with Ricard are going.
Ultimately, both sides are going to have to compromise, as Zrebiec indicated. The Ravens will have to sell Ricard on their culture and reputation while Ricard will have to likely take less than what he would get on the open market.
If not, “Project Pat” might just be playing for a new team in 2022.