Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/30/11

The Baltimore Ravens plan to use the franchise player tag on running back Ray Rice, ESPN reported Sunday.

Rice is making just $600,000 in the final year of his contract. The franchise tag will delay his entry into free agency, where he could have landed a huge multi-year contract.

Earlier this year, running backs Chris Johnson of Tennessee and DeAngelo Williams of Carolina received exorbitant contracts that reset the market for the position.

According to the report, the Ravens believe they can save money by making Rice their franchise player, a designation that pays the average of the top five salaries at the position. That figure is $9.45 million this season but will drop to $7.71 million in 2012.

Rice has 426 yards and two TDs this season, his fourth in the NFL. He has rushed for at least 1,200 yards each of the last two years.

The report also said the Chicago Bears plan on using a similar strategy with running back Matt Forte, who also is in the final year of his deal and was unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension with the club earlier this year.

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