Star running backs ink new deals

Ray Rice

Ray Rice and Matt Forte, two of the NFL’s most productive running backs, signed new contracts with their respective teams, the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears.

Rice’s extension, a 5yr/$40M deal, which includes a first year salary of $17M for the 2012-13 season and another $8M the following season, is structured to be loaded heavily on the front end.  Forte’s deal, on the other hand, is a 4yr/$32M contract which guarantees a minimum of $17M.

The Ravens and Bears both placed franchise tags on their star running backs to secure their services for the upcoming season. Without contract extensions Rice and Forte would have garnered around $7.7M, as guaranteed by franchise tag tender.

Matt Forte

More controversy surrounded Forte’s extension than Rice’s. Bandwagongers petitioning for Forte’s extension often followed his name with “pay him please,” as was notably heard by analysts on ESPN’s Sport Center.

Last Season Rice led the NFL accruing 2,068 yards from scrimmage, 1,368 of those were rushing yards. He also set a Ravens franchise record of 15 touchdowns.

The Chicago Bear’s offense wouldn’t exist without Matt Forte. Last Season he produced 997 rushing yards on 4.9 yards per carry, a total limited by a four game absence from a sprained right medial collateral ligament (MCL). Overall he totaled 1,487 yards from scrimmage.

It’s refreshing to see these two deals completed. Player holdouts have plagued professional sports in recent years. Now both players can return their focus to training camp and the upcoming regular season set to kick off in early September.