If you were wondering what Ray Rice's reaction was to LeSean McCoy's new contract extension with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Ravens' running back wasted little time responding to the news.
"Nice well deserved," Rice said on his Twitter account after reports surfaced that the Eagles have signed McCoy, one of the NFL's best backs, to a five-year, $45-million deal that includes nearly $21 million in guaranteed money.
Rice, as you know by now, is also looking for a contract extension, rather than playing the season under the $7.7-million franchise tag. The negotiations between the Ravens and Rice's agent, Todd France, remain ongoing and the two sides have until the afternoon of July 16 to come to an agreement or the running back will play the season under the franchise tag.
The Ravens and France have been in touch for a while now so McCoy's deal getting finalized today might not mean much in the grand scheme of things. It, however, is certainly worth discussing because McCoy's contract could provide a template for the Rice negotiations.
After all, McCoy's deal, at least on paper, appeared to be patterned after the recent five-year, $43.5 million pact that the Houston Texans agreed to with their star running back, Arian Foster. McCoy, according to reports, got $20.765 million in guaranteed money while Foster got $20.75.
There are obviously difference. McCoy wasn't due to hit free agency until after the 2012-13 season. Foster was a restricted free agent this offseason while Rice was an unrestricted one until the Ravens made sure that he wasn't going anywhere by saddling him with the franchise tag.
At age 23, McCoy is two years younger than both Foster and Rice. But the reality is all three are dynamic, Pro Bowl backs who have posted similar statistics over the past couple of years.
In 29 regular season games the past two seasons (he sat out three in 2011), Foster rushed for 2,840 yards while averaging 4.7 yards per carry. In 32 games during that span, Rice ran for 2,584 yards while averaging 4.3 yards a carry. McCoy ran for 2,389 yards and 5.0 yards a carry over 30 games during that span. Foster had 119 receptions for 1,221 yards while Rice had 139 receptions for 1,260 yards, and McCoy had 126 catches for 907 yards .
Foster scored 30 total touchdowns (26 rushing and four receiving), one more than McCoy (24 rushing, five receiving), and nine more than Rice, who had 21 (17 rushing and four receiving).
Again, all this may not mean a whole lot though it's reasonable to expect that if a Rice extension gets done - and I still believe that it will - it will be in the neighborhood of the deals that McCoy and Foster got. The same might hold true for Matt Forte, the also-franchised running back of the Chicago Bears, and for Maurice Jones-Drew who is looking for a new contract from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson is the highest paid running back after signing a seven-year, $100 million deal that includes $36 million guaranteed. Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans is next with a four-year, $53.5 deal that includes $30 million guaranteed. McCoy and Foster are then next in terms of highest paid running backs.
In order to get a deal done with Rice, you have to figure that the Ravens are going to have to be willing to compensate their top offensive player in a similar fashion than those other great backs.