The Chicago Bears' Matt Forte and the Ravens' Ray Rice were linked as two Pro Bowl-caliber running backs given the franchise tag by their respective teams.
But the Bears just made sure that Forte won't have to play the upcoming season with that tag. The Ravens have less than three hours to make sure that Rice can say the same thing.
The Chicago Tribune first reported today that Forte had agreed to a long-term extension with Forte, who has rushed for 4,233 yards and 21 touchdowns in four seasons with the Bears. Exact terms of the deal aren't yet known but ESPN reported that it is expected to average about $8 million per year. It is believed that Rice is looking for a deal that averages around $9 million per season.
The Ravens have until 4 p.m. today to agree to an extension with Rice or he'll be in line to play the season under the $7.7 million franchise tag.
As the deadline nears, both sides -- Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and Rice's agent, Todd France -- have not responded to interview requests. The Ravens do not discuss ongoing contract negotiations.