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Ravens, Ray Rice beat the clock, agree to five-year, $40M contract

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
Rice should be pumped about his new deal. (Getty Images)

It came right down to the deadline, but the Ravens made a big move for the future of their offense by giving running back Ray Rice a five-year deal, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman confirms.

CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora reports that $25 million of Rice's deal comes in the first two years, and $24 million of the total deal is guaranteed. Rice will make $17 million in 2012 and $24 million in the first 12 months of the deal. Albert Breer of the NFL Network first reported the contract signing.

Of course, the guy who was all over this contract from the get-go was none other than Ravens fullback Vonta Leach, who tweeted early on that the two sides would "get a deal done." Leach was the only guy out there predicting a deal for Rice, and he was spot-on with his assessment.

Leach provided minute-by-minute updates on the situation, including Rice's arrival at the Ravens facility.

It was surprising to just about everyone else that the Ravens and Rice worked out a deal: it seemed as if talks had stalled leading up to the 4 p.m. ET deadline to get franchise-tagged players on long-term deals. But deadlines always crank up the pressure to get a deal done, and Rice and the Ravens ultimately worked something out.

Rice ultimately took a bit of a discount by sticking with the Ravens. The $8 million a year he averages over the course of the contract is less than he'd make on the open market and right at what Matt Forte got from the Bears when he signed a four-year deal on Monday.

Of course, Forte got $18 million guaranteed and Rice is getting nearly $6 million more guaranteed. That's critical in these sort of deals, as guaranteed money is really all that matters in NFL negotiations.

“This is another example of Steve Bisciotti's commitment to the team and to our fans to retain our core players," Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said. "[Rice's] production on the field speaks for itself, and his leadership in the locker room is outstanding."

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

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