Originally written on Down and Distance  |  Last updated 11/20/14

INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 16: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs the ball against the Indianapolis Colts in the first quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Lucas Oli Stadium on January 16, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

This summer, two of the premier running backs in the NFL are in a race against time. Matt Forte and Ray Rice have until 4:00 P.M. on Monday the 16th to either sign their franchise tenders or reach long term agreements with their respective teams. While Forte planned on spending the weekend negotiating with the Bears on a long term deal, Ray Rice says that he is optimistic that a deal will be done before the deadline on Monday afternoon.

The NFL deadline to sign franchise players to long term deals is two days away, and if a deal with Rice doesn’t get done by then, he will play the season under the one-year, $7.742 million franchise tag. Even though no deal seems imminent at this point, Rice still believes that his deal will be done in time.
At a charity event to promote anti-bullying on Friday, Rice even made light-hearted jokes directed at the Raven’s GM Ozzie Newsome.  He told the crowd at Merriweather Post Pavilion: “Call Ozzie Newsome and tell him to pay me.”

In an interview after his event with the Carroll County Times, Rice kept his composure and told the local newspaper that he was confident about the deal.

“I’ll always keep it real for you, but I’m always optimistic,” Rice said when asked about his contract situation.”God has put me in a position where not too many people can say they’ve been. I never played for the dollars and all of that other stuff.

Rice didn’t want to say too much else about his contract situation because he wanted to focus on the anti-bullying message that the event promoted.

“My rookie contract, quite frankly, you just signed it and go play football. So, this is a little bit different of an experience for me. Needless to say, what puts a smile on my face is that no matter the money I made, I still get to go out here and kids get to see me and smile. I’m here for the bullying event.” 

Rice rushed for a career-high 1,364 yards and a dozen touchdowns last season. He led the NFL with 2,068 yards from scrimmage and set a franchise record with 15 total touchdowns last season. Rice also caught 76 passes for 704 yards and three touchdowns. To say that he’s an integral part of this Ravens offense is an understatement. He deserves to be paid, and I believe the Ravens organization knows that. The problem lies in the cap space that the team has left. The Ravens are up against the cap, so even if they want to pay him the money they feel he deserves, it may not be entirely possible.

Teams have been hesitant to pay big money to NFL running backs as of late because of the short shelf life of a running back’s “elite” status in the league. Chris Johnson of the Titans, who is regarded as one of the best running backs in the league and definitely one of the fastest, was rewarded with a 56 million dollar deal only to have an overall disappointing season following that.

What do you think, folks?
Does Ray Rice deserve to get big money?
Will the deal be done in time?

 

Sports-kings NFL blogger Tad Johnson- follow me on twitter @TJ_DownDistance
or follow D&D @downanddistance

The post Ray Rice optimistic about new deal with Ravens appeared first on DOWN & DISTANCE.

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