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Could Rice incident end time in Baltimore?

Ray Rice is supposedly part of the Ravens' plans in 2014.
Ray Rice is supposedly part of the Ravens' plans in 2014.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Could Rice incident end time in Baltimore?

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was arrested in an Atlantic City casino for a physical altercation with his fiancee, which is obviously disturbing news for both the team and its fans.

One video has already been released showing Rice dragging his unconcious fiancee out of an elevator at the casino. Police say they have another video in their possession that shows Rice hit his fiancee to knock her unconscious.

While the Ravens have said publicly that Rice will be a big part of their team moving forward, this incident at least opens the door for speculation that the team could use this as an opportunity to get out from under his contract without major salary cap ramifications.

Mike Preston of The Baltimore Sun suggested that the team could look into some type of morality clause that would allow them to dump Rice's huge contract without eating up a ton of the salary cap.

Cutting Rice without invoking some type of morality clause would actually mean his contract would count more against the salary cap than it would if the team held onto him, which is why the Ravens were essentially stuck with him until now.

If Rice was coming off a strong season in which he played well, stayed healthy and showed up to training camp in great shape, this incident would certainly be overlooked by the team. The Ravens certainly wouldn't be happy with Rice's actions, but a phone call or a meeting about the incident would pretty much wrap it up.

Instead, Rice played terrible, came into camp overweight and battled a hip injury. All those carries in college and in the NFL may be catching up with him. He also made some comments criticizing the play-calling and was involved in some type of locker room dispute toward the end of the season that caused some issues.

Rice used to be seen as one of the team's good guys. He was someone who made a difference in the community, stayed out of trouble and said the right things as one of the team's spokesman. That seemed to change last year. Maybe the lack of success was just too much for him to handle.

It remains to be seen just how feasible it would be to cut Rice under some type of morality clause, and it's unknown what type of ramifications it would have against the salary cap.

Cutting Rice could also have other ramifications. The Ravens are known as one of the best, most stable organizations in the NFL. They have a world class facility, treat their players very well and generally stand by them in tough times and win a lot of games. The perception that they treat players well and stand by them could change if they were to cut Rice, who has been run into the ground by the team during his career.