Earlier in the day, news broke that Matt Forte had been signed a long term deal with the Bears, surprising everyone who had covered the contract dispute between the two sides. This afternoon, kicker Josh Scobee signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars ending a similar contract dispute in Northern Florida.
Now you can add Ray Rice to the list.
According to Albert Breer, Ray Rice and the Ravens have agreed on a five year contract, keeping the running back in Baltimore through the 2016 season. ESPN reports that the deal is worth $40 million dollars, including $25 million in the first two years.
As you may or may not have known, 4 PM today was the deadline for negotiating contracts with franchised players. If a player had not signed a deal by that time, that player and his team would have to wait until the end of the season to begin hammering out a long term deal.
Today's signings of Forte, Scobee and Rice illustrate how teams often would like to use the exclusive franchise tag. These players and their teams wanted to stay together, but the teams needed to insure they would retain their players' services while they negotiated long term deals. By using the exclusive franchise tag on those players, teams were able to buy themselves plenty of time to get a deal done.
In his four seasons with the Ravens, Ray Rice has ran for 4,377 yards on nearly 1,000 attempts, scoring 24 touchdowns. He's considered one of the most durable backs in the league, and the news that the Ravens locked him down for the next five years shouldn't surprise anyone.
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Just to clarify... Rice was actually a NON-exclusive Franchise Tag player...that means if he refused to sign his franchise tag tender, he technically could be signed by another team if Baltimore did not want to match the offer...
Guys like Drew Brees (and Terrell Suggs 2 years ago) were given the EXCLUSIVE franchise tag...that means they could NOT be signed by another team, and would have to sit out an entire year if they did not sign their franchise tags.
@Brizorro You're absolutely right, and that's an oversight on my part. I scratched his name out from the paragraph above pointing out such use of the exclusive tag. Good catch.