The Baltimore Ravens and Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice have agreed to a five-year, $40 million contract, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
Ray Rice signed a five-year, $40 million contract that includes $17 million in year one and $25 million in the first two years.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 16, 2012
As Schefter notes, the contract is front-loaded, with just under 63 percent of the total contract value being paid out in the next two years. The final three years of the contract will average out to $5 million per year.
In essence, the contract was constructed to account for projected production. Rice will be 27 years old by the end of the second year of the contract (he’s 25 years old now), and running backs tend to start their decline at the age of 28, when Rice will be paid $5 million a year.
Last season, the fifth-year pro ran for a career-high 1364 yards — while averaging 4.7 yards per carry — and found himself in the endzone 15 times (12 running touchdowns and three receiving), also a career-high. He was second in the NFL in rushing yards, trailing Jacksonville Jaguar tail-back Maurice Jones-Drew. He also earned the second Pro Bowl berth of his career in 2011 and led the Ravens’ running attack all the way to the AFC Championship game where the team lost to the New England Patriots.
In the postseason, however, Ray Rice ran for just 127 yards off of 42 attempts, did not score a touchdown, and caught only five passes.