Ray Rices last-minute deal was one of the major storylines of Franchise Tag Deadline Day, with more than one national pundit expressing surprise that a deal got done.
Here is some of the reaction from the national media to the Rice signing:
Adam Schefter, ESPN: He (Rice) decided he could not bypass the financial security that this deal provides. He is a running back in this league, and weve seen running backs get battered. When you get 17 million in year one, and 25 million in the first two years, and youre happy in Baltimore and you want to be on that Ravens team, theres no reason not to take the long-term deal.
Doug Farrar, Yahoo Sports: Rice has earned every bit of his new agreement. It's a crucial move for the Ravens, because Rice has grown into the fulcrum of their offense. It's not what was expected out of a "too short, too small" back selected in the late second round of the 2008 draft out of Rutgers. Rice had a chip on his shoulder from Day 1, and he proved as soon as he was able that he could do anything and everything expected of an elite NFL back.
Will Brinson, CBSSports.com: Rice got paid handsomely. The Ravens' running back will make 24 million in guaranteed money, which isn't "AP money" but should be just enough to squeak by on for the rest of your life. Rice would've landed more money on the open market, but he's also got plenty of miles on his odometer for a guy who's just 25. The Ravens and Rice have to love the fact that he'll get paid through age 29, which provides Rice a shot at landing another deal on the market and doesn't overcommit the Ravens."
Matt Williamson, ESPN.com: Rice might be the running back in the NFL that is most important to his franchise. My only real concern with the signing of Rice is the fact that he has logged 1,069 regular season touches (not to mention the playoffs) over the past three seasons. Although he has not missed a game in that time and has shown he can play through pain and doesnt turn 26 years old until January. While Rice appears as potent as ever, his smaller stature does give me some pause when considering his long-term effectiveness after so many recent touches.
But the reality is that Baltimore really had no choice in this matter. And I fear the Ravens window is closing very quickly, as stalwart Ravens such as Matt Birk, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are on their last legs -- not to mention Terrell Suggs injury situation, which is going to be very difficult to overcome. With Rice not in the fold, 2012 was going to be extremely difficult for Baltimore to stack up against the elite NFL franchises. This is a move that simply needed to be made by the Ravens.
Jason LaCanfora, CBS Sports.com: "Ray Rice and the Ravens weren't that close heading into the weekend, the realities of his position, with longevity concerns, helped spur a deal. With Joe Flacco in the last year of his deal, and only one tag to go around, the Ravens needed to get something down, and Rice takes the tradeoff of 25 million in the first two years of the deal while Baltimore gets lower salaries as he creeps toward age 30 (which actually should help keep Rice on the roster as the years and grind add on)."