RAVENS AND RICE BEAT DEADLINE, AGREE ON DEAL WITH ONLY MINUTES TO SPARE

How close to the deadline was it that the Baltimore Ravens and Ray Rice reached an agreement, The Baltimore Sun, and the Ravens web site did not have the story as of 4:10, but was there ever really any doubt that General Manager Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens and Ray Rice would hammer this thing out?

Ummm, yes I must say there was on my part, but not Ravens fullback Vonta Leach, who said there will be good news by the 4 p.m. franchise deadline. One of running back Ray Rice’s closest friends on the team, Leach hit Twitter to break the news.

It came after ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted, “Would be an upset if the Ravens and their franchise player Ray Rice were able to strike a long-term deal by today’s 4 ET deadline.”

Rice agrees, 5-years 40 million

Leach responded: “@AdamSchefter yep it will be but I think we will have goods news at 4pm.” Then Leach expanded on his prediction: “@RayRice27 and the #ravens will get a deal done.”

There’s about half-an-hour until the deadline. Last year, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata’s deal after he was franchised came down to the wire.

The Ravens and Rice reached a deal as did the Chicago Bears and running back Matt Forte today. According to ESPN, the Ravens and franchised running back Ray Rice have agreed to terms on a five-year, $40 million contract, only minutes before Monday’s deadline, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. The deal will pay Rice $17 million in the first year and $25 million in the first two years, the sources said.

The Ravens had placed their franchise tag on Rice in March and the sides had until 4 p.m. ET on Monday to reach an agreement. Without a long-term deal, Rice would have had to play the 2012 season under the $7.749 million tender or sit out the season.

The Chicago Bears also signed their franchise player, running back Matt Forte, to a four-year deal earlier Monday. A source told Schefter that deal is worth roughly $32 million.

Rice’s contract expired after a season in which he amassed an NFL-best 2,068 yards from scrimmage and helped the Ravens advance to the AFC Championship Game.

Last September, Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata traded his franchise tag for a five-year, $61 million contract. Rice wanted to follow a similar path.

Soon after Baltimore’s loss to New England in the AFC title game, Rice said, “I’m not going to complain about the franchise tag, but I prefer the long-term. That’s what Baltimore, the city, the fans, would love to know — that Ray Rice is going to be here, not just one year, but for many years to come.”

Rice scored a franchise-record 15 touchdowns in 2011 to go with a career-best 1,364 yards rushing. He also led Baltimore with 76 catches (for 704 yards).

Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun writes. “The five-year deal for the 25-year-old is for $40 million and reportedly includes $25 million over the first two years”.

The signing continues the Ravens’ trend of reaching long-term agreements with designated “franchise” players. The Ravens did it last year with defensive tackle Haloti Ngata just hours before the deadline and the tag has also served as a precursor for past deals with Terrell Suggs and Chris McAlister, among others.

The Sun report goes on to say, Rices’ deal eliminates any uncertainty for the rest of the offseason involving Rice, who didn’t participate in any minicamps and said recently that he missed the camaraderie of being around his teammates this offseason.

The 2011 season was clearly his finest as he led the NFL in yards from scrimmage with a career-high 2,068 yards. He was the only player in the league to reach the 2,000-yard plateau. He also accumulated a career-high 1,364 rushing yards, second in the NFL behind the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Maurice Jones-Drew, and led the Ravens with 76 receptions for a career-high 704 yards.

His 15 touchdowns – 12 rushing, three receiving and one touchdown pass – set a franchise record. He joined Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk as the only players in NFL history to register at least 1,200 rushing yards and 700 receiving yards in multiple seasons.

For more on the Jeff Zrebiec article, just click here. 

information from espn and the AP contributed to this report. Sources highlighted for proof:

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About Alan Zlotorzynski

I am a 42-year-old amateur sports talk show host, and sports writer. I am from Baltimore, MD, and my first love is all things "Balwmer". The Ravens, Orioles, Terps, and Washington Capitals are the teams I love. Living in Melbourne Florida now, I follow the Florida Gators, and casually watch the other two Florida NHL teams. I love sports history, especially the NFL and NHL from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. I miss the Baltimore Colts, and the Baltimore Orioles. I hate everything Pittsburgh sports and will always cheer for whoever is playing the “Stillers”, Penguins, and Pirates. However, I do have much respect for the way those teams (except for the Pirates, they suck as bas the O’s) compete. I love the underdog, and 2-to-1 pitching duels. 10-7 mistake free defensive football games are great to watch and I like old time hockey. I believe Europeans are ruining the NHL. And Peter Angelos is a dick. I don't like the NBA, but I will watch the playoffs. I love college basketball. And believe March Madness is the best sports championship of the year followed by the Super Bowl. Nothing and I mean nothing beats a Game No.7 of any NHL playoff series. My favorite all time athletes are Johnny Unitas, Ray Lewis, Cal Ripken Jr., Wayne Gretzky, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. ( Junior sucks). For those of you that still call No.52 a murderer, you’re an asshole. Speaking of No.52, I don’t like Mike Green of the Washington Capitals because I don’t like crybaby sissies, who get hurt all of the time. I don’t like people who chronically complain about shit and do nothing to fix it. I love sports movies, and feel the top three all-time are *61, Field of Dreams, and Slap Shot. I love my hometown teams, but am also a realist. While I hate Duke Basketball, I feel Coach"K" is the greatest coach in any sport of my generation. Bill Belichick is a distant second. I don't like the Indianapolis Colts, but love Peyton Manning; I cannot stand the New York Yankees, but love Derek Jeter. I love my beautiful wife very much, whom I will be married to for three years this June. Gina is the greatest woman God has ever placed on this earth, and I now know she was my high school sweetheart all along. Without her my life would be shit. With her, I’m on top of the world. I have four great kids, and my oldest will always be Daddy’s Little Girl. Lauren I love you, and I will always be there for you. Izzi, Sarah, and Marco---Daddy Mr. Alan will never let you down either. I’d like to thank my father for his undying support, he is the greatest. I’m blessed to have a great step mother. Thanks Ome for being so good to me and my family. I want to tell my brother Brian, and sister Treena that I love them very much, and their families. Mom would be so proud. Speaking of mom, I miss her very much and know that she is watching from above. She is a big reason I’ve made it this far in life, and while I haven’t hit the big time yet, I know I will because of how she raised me. By the way, when I do make it, all of you are coming along for the ride. Thanks for your support, and if there is something you would like to read or hear just drop me a line at zbestsports1@gmail.com. Please be sure to log in and listen on Blog talk radio on MONDAY-WEDNESDAY-FRIDAY @ 6:30 to hear Z-Best R-rated Sports Talk.
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