ESPN has reported both Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens and Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears have reached deals with their respective teams and avoided playing out the season with the dreaded franchise tag. With the high turnover rate at running back due to injury and the belief by some that the system has as much to do with success as the actual runner cough cough (Mike Shannahan), it's refreshing to see two teams and two players be able to come together and get a deal done. I think it's better for everyone involved typically and especially in the above noted situations.
Ray Rice signed for around 5 years and $40 million but it was not reported how much in guaranteed money while Matt Forte agreed to a 4 year deal that will pay around $32 million with over half guaranteed at over $18 million. In the NFL where contracts are not fully guaranteed as in other top paying sports like baseball and basketball, the guaranteed money such as the signing bonus is much more important obviously. The teams and player agents use whatever loop holes exist in the guidelines for salary caps and other salary considerations to get as much talent on the field as they can afford while using bloated back-end money and bonus possibilities to get the deal done.
ESPN.com Ray Rice Story Link
ESPN.com Matt Forte Story LInk