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MJD: A cautionary tale

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MJD: A cautionary tale

The undersized running back who some said was too small had just cashed in big time.

He was all smiles as he signed a long-term extension that made him one of the highest paid running backs in the game. The contract was heavily front-loaded, meaning the cash would come pouring in early in the contract, then ease up in the later years of the deal.

No, were not talking about Ray Rice.

Were talking about Jacksonvilles Maurice Jones-Drew, and his tale could be a cautionary one for Rice and the Ravens.

The similarities between Jones-Drew and Rice are striking. Jones-Drew stands 5-foot-7 and weighs about 210 pounds. Rice is listed at 5-8, 212 pounds. Both were second-round picks, Jones-Drew out of UCLA, Rice out of Rutgers. Both have become the heart of their teams offense.

In April of 2009, Jones-Drew signed a four-year, 31 million extension with Jacksonville, making him, at that time, one of the three highest-paid running backs in the league. Jones-Drews contract was front-loaded to guarantee him about 21.8 million in the first three years of the deal.

Jones-Drew was all smiles then, but not so much now.

Jones-Drew, who led the league in rushing last season with 1,606 yards, suddenly looks around and sees Rice, Matt Forte, Arian Foster and LeSean McCoy all signing big-time contracts this offseason. Add that to the whopping deals signed by Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson in the past two seasons, and Jones-Drew is suddenly nowhere near the top paid running back.

Simply put, he wants more money. He thinks hes earned it. Jones-Drew skipped the Jaguars June minicamp and is threatening to hold out. He is due a salary of about 4.45 million this year, which is not nothing, but based on the other signings, appears to be well below market value.

The Jaguars say hold on a minute. We paid you a lot up front for your financial security. Now you have to hold up your end of the deal.

Obviously, he has expressed that he would like to renegotiate, Jaguars general manager Gene Smith told the Florida Times-Union in June. And we have expressed again that we feel he has a contract with two years left, that we expect him to fulfill those obligations.

Fast forward four years. Could this be the predicament the Ravens and Ray Rice find themselves in?

Like Jones-Drews, Rices deal is heavily front-loaded, with Rice getting about 25 million in the first two seasons. By the end of the deal, Rice is scheduled to make about 3 million in base salary. If his production then is even close to what it has been, he will appear to be badly underpaid.

Ricehe was all smiles yesterday as he put the signature on a five-year, 40 million deal that was very much deserved. And he has often said that he has never played football for the money. But by 2016, when hes in the final year of this deal, and his base salary is nowhere near the top of the running back list, well see if that still holds true.

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Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

We've known the Ravens' 2018 preseason and regular season opponents for some time now, but the NFL finally released their full schedule with exact dates and times.

As they do every year, the Ravens will be seeing the Bengals, Steelers and Browns twice. 

For the ninth consecutive year, Week 16 and 17 will be divisional games with playoff implications.

The Ravens will also be playing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame preseason game against the Chicago Bears in Canton, Ohio, bringing an extra preseason game to their schedule.

In the regular season, the birds will be flocking south to take on the Panthers, Falcons and Titans. They haven't seen the Panthers or Falcons since 2014 - both ending in wins - and came up just short against the Titans in their 23-20 loss last season.

The Ravens will only have to travel to the west coast once when they take on the Los Angeles Chargers, who they last saw in 2015 and earned a 29-26 win.

Not including AFC North rivals, the last time the Ravens saw their remaining five home opponents they came away with wins. Hopefully history will repeat itself.

Prime-time games, which the Ravens have two of, will kick off at earlier times than in the past. Monday Night Football will now start at 8:15 p.m. while Thursday and Sunday Night Football will start at 8:20 p.m.

Ravens 2018 Regular-Season Schedule:

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9 vs. Bills, 1:00 p.m.

Week 2: Thursday, 9/13 @ Bengals, 8:20 p.m.

Week 3: Sunday, 9/23 vs. Broncos. 1:00 p.m.

Week 4: Sunday, 9/30 @ Steelers, 8:20 p.m.

Week 5: Sunday, 10/7 @ Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 6: Sunday 10/14 @ Titans, 4:25 p.m.

Week 7: Sunday, 10/21 vs. Saints, 4:05 p.m.

Week 8: Sunday 10/28 @ Panthers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 9: Sunday 11/4 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 10:  BYE week

Week 11: Sunday 11/18 vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m.

Week 12: Sunday 11/25 vs. Raiders, 1:00 p.m.

Week 13: Sunday 12/2 @ Falcons, 1:00 p.m.

Week 14: Sunday 12/9 @ Chiefs, 1:00 p.m.

Week 15: Sunday 12/16 vs. Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 16: Saturday 12/22 or Sunday 12/23 @ Chargers, TBD

Week 17: Sunday 12/30 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m.


PRESEASON 

Hall of Fame Game: Thurs., 8/2, vs. Chicago Bears (Canton, OH), 8:00pm (NBC).

Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. Los Angeles Rams

Week 2: Mon. 8/20,  at Indianapolis Colts (Monday Night Football, ESPN).

Week 3: at Miami Dolphins*

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30 at Washington Redskins

* - Game date and time not yet determined

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

With 10 days until the 2018 NFL Draft, quarterback Lamar Jackson is set to visit the Ravens this week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner is a projected first-round pick as he has proven to have success in the air and on the ground. 

While at Louisville, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns. His NFL draft profile compares him to Michael Vick. 

RELATED: BEST QUOTES FROM RAVENS PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE

The Ravens are in search of Joe Flacco's successor, but spending a first-round pick on a quarterback when there are other glaring needs is up in the air. However, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of drafting a quarterback in the first-round.

At their pre-draft press conference, GM Ozzie Newsome and DeCosta kept reiterating we could be surprised by who they pick at No. 16, if they do at all. 

While Jackson's numbers are impressive, he continues to be considered a late first-round pick as his build isn't up to typical NFL QB standards and scouts are concerned with his accuracy. What he does have in his favor is speed.

While fans are hoping for an offensive weapon, having Jackson learn under Flacco for a year (and maybe RGIII?) could rev up some excitement. 

RELATED: RGIII READY TO MOVE FORWARD AS NEW, GROWN PLAYER