The Ravens have been very good at taking care of their own, with the latest example coming in September when the they signed defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to a five-year, $61 million deal. They enter this offseason with three potential contract extension candidates, all on the offensive side of the ball. Running back Ray Rice (above) and left guard Ben Grubbs -- both Pro Bowl selections this season -- are unrestricted free agents while quarterback Joe Flacco has one year remaining on his rookie contract. Rice, who led the NFL with 2,068 yards from scrimmage and scored 15 touchdowns, is expected to be the priority and already has several teammates lobbying on his behalf. His fullback, Vonta Leach, wished Rice a Happy Birthday Sunday on Twitter and included the words, "Pay the Man." Linebacker Terrell Suggs said today that extending Rice is a "no-brainer." "We're really good about that, guys who are truly Ravens, keeping them Ravens," Suggs said. "There's no one better in the game to do it than [General Manager] Ozzie Newsome so we just have to see how it's going to turn out." For his part, Rice has maintained since Day One of the season that he wants -- and expects -- to stay in Baltimore. If the Ravens can't reach an agreement with Rice on a long-term deal, they'll almost certainly place the franchise tag on him for next season -- which is what they did initially with Ngata -- and pay him the average of the five highest paid running backs in the NFL. The Ravens' organizational policy is not to comment on contract negotiations, though owner Steve Bisciotti told The Baltimore Sun last March that he expects to sign Flacco to a contract extension at some point in 2012, so the quarterback isn't forced to play next season with free agency looming. Flacco had an uneven season but coach John Harbaugh and several key Ravens players reiterated Sunday that he is the quarterback to get the team to the Super Bowl. Grubbs will be a more difficult decision because as vital as he is to the offensive line, the Ravens signed right guard Marshal Yanda to a five-year, $32 million deal last July. Grubbs, 27, will get big money as well and it could be tough for the Ravens to pay both he and Yanda when they also have some uncertainty at the center and left tackle spots.
DOUG KAPUSTIN, MCT