The Baltimore Ravens have applied the franchise tag to running back Ray Rice, which will keep him from becoming an unrestricted free agent. The tag will pay him $7.7 million as a part of a one year deal. His four-year rookie contract was set to expire in March.
By franchising Ray Rice, the Ravens guarantee that he will be with them for at least this season. It essentially buys them more time to eventually sign him to a long term deal. With quarterback Joe Flacco also entering the final year of his contract, negotiating with the two most important pieces of the Ravens offense at the same time was too much to manage in such a short period of time. Hopefully by the start of the 2012 season, the Baltimore Ravens will have locked up their two key offensive weapons long term.