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Different ballgame

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Different ballgame

Now that the Ravens have signed Ray Rice, they can turn their attention to their negotiations with Joe Flacco -- a very different beast, for sure.

The salary structure for quarterbacks is pro footballs highest, no surprise given the positions importance. The New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees created a new high-end threshold last week with a 100 million deal that includes over 60 million in guarantees and makes him the NFLs first 20 million-a-year player.

Running backs dont make nearly as much.

While Flaccos merits are endlessly debated, the mere fact that he is a young starting quarterback on a winning team guarantees him a significant payday that almost surely will surpass Rices deal.

The fact that he is a bona fide franchise quarterback also gives him more leverage than Rice.

The increasingly pass-happy NFL is quarterback-driven these days. Teams that are set under center are in a much better position to win than teams still searching for the answer. If the Ravens were to let Flacco go, they would be back at square one at his position, where they were before he arrived sorting through retreads and never-weres and crossing their fingers for a little short-term magic.

Its not a great place to be, and you can be sure Flaccos agent, Joe Linta, is well ware of that. The reality of the situation pretty much gives Flacco the upper hand.

Granted, Rice also was (and is) tremendously valuable as a two-time Pro Bowl selection who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage in 2011. But star running backs tend to peak sooner and for a much shorter time than top quarterbacks, lowering the market for their services.

Some league insiders have even wondered aloud whether its smart for teams ever to pay big bucks to a running back, given the pounding they take.

No one ever wonders aloud whether its smart to give big bucks to your franchise quarterback. Theyre hard to find, even harder to replace and therefore able to command the highest prices on the market.

The Ravens have been in almost every conceivable situation since they came to Baltimore in 1996, but this is a new one re-upping with a winning franchise quarterback they drafted and developed.

A different creature, indeed.

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."

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