Originally posted on Rumors and Rants  |  Last updated 7/16/12

The Baltimore Ravens used the franchise tag to ensure running back Ray Rice would be back with the team in 2012, but the two sides had eyes on agreeing to a long-term pact at some point. Well now that has finally happened.

Rice and the Raves have agreed to a five-year, $40 million deal that includes $17 million in 2012, and $8 million in 2012. From the initial numbers it appears Rice’s deal fits in the middle of the Adrian Peterson-Chris Johnson-LeSean McCoy-Arian Foster contract group.

The deal came across the line just in front of Monday’s deadline to secure contracts with franchised tagged players that would alter their salaries for the 2012 season.

Last season Rice rushed for 1,364 yards on 291 attempts (4.7 yards per carry), with 12 rushing totals. He also racked up 704 yards and three touchdowns on 76 receptions. His 2,068 yards from scrimmage led the NFL.

The fact that the Ravens and Rice got a deal done is a big win for both sides. The 25-year-old Rice now has long-term financial security, while Baltimore can turn its attention to getting quarterback Joe Flacco and safety Ed Reed inked to long-term contracts.

Rice’s $24 million in guarantees trails only Peterson and Chris Johnson among running backs. He will be eligible for free agency after the 2017 season.

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