As the Bryant McKinnie turns…
OK, maybe that’s not catchiest name of a soap opera of all time. But that’s what it’s felt like today. As you may have read on NFL.com — or all over Twitter — the Ravens starting left tackle was battling the team on a contract renegotiation.
They wanted him to take a reduction, and he was willing to. Just, not as much as they wanted. At one point, he thought he was being released, and said so publicly. Now? I’m told McKinnie is remaining a Raven, thanks to an agreement in principle.
Before today, my favorite experience involving McKinnie was that he was kicked off the Pro Bowl team following the 2009 season because of excessive partying or something like that. I was covering the game that year and remember making several jokes about him shutting down clubs. Today, we’re making jokes about his text messages to reporters.
So, what does this all mean?
A couple things. First, my gut was that it would get done, and it did. McKinnie wanted to be a Raven, the team wanted him, and the fact that the team stayed quiet throughout meant there was always a chance it could happen. I’m sure McKinnie wanted to be part of a winner, and the Ravens didn’t want to have to lose their blindside protector right before the season. Neither did QB Joe Flacco.
It made too much sense, despite what McKinnie’s frustrated public cries said.
Now, the fact that the Ravens drew a hard line in the sand is noteworthy. They are really business-like, almost Patri0t-like. And the fact that they’d engage in a high-stakes game of chicken on a game week meant two things: 1. They were willing to lose McKinnie and start Michael Oher on the Blind Side (see what I did there?). 2. That’s how much they believe in value. They didn’t believe McKinnie was worth more than $3 million, and that was evident. Now, he’ll make closer to what the team feels he’s worth.
As for McKinnie … it would’ve been interesting to see him on the open market. I kinda wish it happened (though I’m sure the Ravens are pretty pumped it didn’t). The Jets, the Cardinals, the Chargers, the Bears — all teams who could have paid handsomely. Would they have paid more than McKinnie is set to make now? I legitimately am curious.
But I don’t think McKinnie could take the chance. He has major, major financial issues, including this issue involving a lockout loan. The rap label McKinnie started has been crushing him, I’m told, and that’s one big reason he’s having trouble making ends meet. When he interviewed agents a while back, I’m told he asked for a loan to sign. That’s a bad thing.
So today, McKinnie needed to ensure himself he would make enough money. With incentives, he actually could earn his original $3.2 million back. After all this, that’s his best outcome. As for other players … they know the Ravens aren’t messing around.