The Baltimore Ravens are announcing they've come to terms with previously franchise tagged RB Ray Rice on a five-year contract which could end up being worth $40 million.
Per reports, the deal will pay Rice $17 million this season, and $25 million over the first two years of the deal.
The agreement was reached just a few minutes before the 4 p.m. ET deadline in which players who received the franchise tag could no longer sign long-term contracts. Chicago RB Matt Forte, another franchise tagged RB, also signed a deal before the deadline hit today. Reports indicate Rice received one more year and roughly $8 million more than Forte did.
Rice led the NFL with 2,068 yards from scrimmage in 2011, along with a career-high 15 touchdowns.
It's bad but expected news for the remaining teams in the AFC North. Rice isn't very old and despite concerns of long-term injury risk, he doesn't look like the kind of player who will slow down any time soon.
While the Ravens are reported to be in contract negations with QB Joe Flacco, Rice's tagging and eventual extension marks the second consecutive year the Ravens have kept a valuable member of their team in place by that process. DL Haloti Ngata followed the same path before cashing in on a five-year, $61 million deal before the 2011 season. It could show Flacco what's in store for next year.