Even before Ray Rice's issues in Atlantic City over the weekend, the Ravens' top decision makers had discussed the need to add another running back.
In an interview with The Baltimore Sun at last month's Senior Bowl, Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta listed running back depth as one of the team's primary needs.
Rice, who is entering the third season of a five-year, $35 million contract, is coming off his most disappointing season as a pro, having rushed for just 660 yards and four touchdowns. His backup Bernard Pierce didn't fare much better, and he is also expected to be limited throughout the offseason after having surgery to repair his right rotator cuff last month.
Because Bernard Scott is also a free agent, the only other running back on the Ravens' roster is Cierre Wood, the former Notre Dame standout who has already been released by the Houston Texans and New England Patriots.
Whether it was through free agency or the draft, the Ravens were planning on bringing in another running back or two. So Rice's off-the-field problems probably won't change things too much for the Ravens' front office which is preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine later this week, the start of free agency on March 11 and then May's draft.
Rice and his fiancee, Janay Palmer, were arrested and charged with simple assault after they were involved in a physical altercation at Revel Casino over the weekend, according to Atlantic City Police. They were detained and then released with summons to appear in court.
Rice's Philadelphia-based attorney, Michael Diamondstein, said "once we're able to go throught he evidence, it should wind up to be little more than a misunderstanding."
It's still a little early to speculate on whether Rice will face disciplinary action by the NFL and whether the incident will significantly affect his status with the Ravens. Team officials obviously aren't pleased with Rice's involvement with the situation.
The Ravens traditionally don't rush to judgement with owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome in charge, and I'd expect this situation to be no different.
But, at the very least, they'll make sure that they are covered at the running back position.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun