Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is another key player that was franchised last month. And like QB Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and RB Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears, Ray Rice has not signed his franchise tender and can not join his team in the voluntary offseason workouts that started this past Monday. As the Ravens featured back, Rice is a key component in their offense. For the 2011 regular season, Rice rushed for 1,364 of the Raven’s 1,995 total rushing yards and had 15 of the 41 touchdowns (12 rushing/3 passing). His 1,364 rushing yards was 2nd in the league behind Jaguars’ RB Maurice Jones Drew who had 1,606. Rice has rushed for at least 1,200 yards and caught at least 60 passes in each of the past three seasons.
With the franchise tag, Rice would receive $7.7 million for one year. And of course, down here on earth, we all wonder what’s the problem with that? Your average Joe would be happy to sign any tag that would net $7.7 million for the year. We wouldn’t even squawk if they dropped the .7. But consider this, the market rate for the services of a quality veteran running back in the NFL is far greater than $7.7 million. Arian Foster, running back for the Houston Texans, recently signed a five-year deal for $43.5 million with $20.75 million guaranteed. And at the start of the 2011 season, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson was given an extension on his rookie contract. Price tag — $53 million with $30 million guaranteed covering him through the 2016 season. The going rate for a top tier running back has been set and Ray Rice is a top tier running back.
C’mon man, Pay the man!