Minutes before the deadline to sign franchised players to long-term deals, the Ravens signed RB Ray Rice to a five-year contract.
Rice's deal is worth $40 million with $25 million to be paid in the first two years, including $17 million in 2012, according to Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times.
In 2011, Rice’s fourth season, the back rushed for 1,364 yards and 12 touchdowns while hauling in 76 catches for 704 yards and three scores. He was second in the league in rushing and second among backs in receiving yards. Rice has not missed a game since his rookie season of 2008.
Rice joined Bears RB Matt Forté and Jaguars PK Josh Scobee as franchised players who got deals done on Monday before the deadline.
The way we see it
Rice is one of the game’s most versatile tailbacks, possessing the capability to effectively run inside and outside the tackles and some of the best pass-catching skills of any back in the game. Were he to have played on just the one-year franchise tender, and were he to have played to his usual standard, the Ravens were going to be put to a tough decision on whether to again use the franchise tag on him (at a higher cost than in ’12) or to allow him to test the market.
With the Rice deal done, let’s see if the Ravens can reach agreement with QB Joe Flacco on a contract extension. Flacco, 27, is in the final year of his contract. Like Rice, he is in his prime, and the cost of securing a talented quarterback for the long term isn’t exactly going down.