Franchise backs minus tag: Rice, Forte sign extensions

Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice happily shed his franchise tag Monday after reaching agreement with the Baltimore Ravens on a new five-year contract worth roughly $40 million.

The Ravens and Rice, their most versatile offensive weapon, went down to the 4 p.m. EDT deadline before hammering out the deal. Had Rice not signed, he would have played the 2012 season under the $7.7 million franchise tag tender.

Instead, he will get $17 million this year and $8 million in 2013.

Baltimore has made the playoffs in each of Rice’s four seasons, twice advancing to the AFC title game. He earned his second Pro Bowl invite last year after leading the NFL with 2,068 yards from scrimmage, including a career-high 1,364 yards rushing. He also scored a career-best 15 touchdowns.

Since being selected out of Rutgers in the second round of the 2008 draft, Rice leads the NFL in receptions and yards receiving by a running back. He’s had 250 catches for 2,235 yards during that span.

■ BEARS – Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte and Chicago agreed to a four-year contract, settling the biggest issue hanging over the team.

The team confirmed the deal before Monday’s deadline. Had the sides not reached an agreement, Forte would have had to play next season for $7.74 million after being hit with the franchise player tag.

The Bears did not release terms and agent Adisa Bakari did not return calls seeking comment. The Chicago Sun-Times, citing an unidentified source, reported the deal is worth $32 million, with more than $18 million guaranteed.

Forte made the Pro Bowl for the first time last season, finishing with 1,487 yards from scrimmage, 997 rushing. He missed the final four games after spraining his right knee in a loss to Kansas City. The Bears lost all but one of those games, falling out of playoff contention.

■ JAGUARS – Jacksonville kicker Josh Scobee signed a four-year contract worth between $13.8 million and $14.2 million, making him one of the league’s highest-paid kickers.

Scobee signed the deal about two hours before Monday’s deadline. The deal is worth $3.45 million annually, with $4.75 million guaranteed. There are $400,000 worth of incentives Scobee could reach.

■ BRONCOS – Police say a road rage incident in Miami Beach, Fla., led to the arrest of Denver defensive tight end Elvis Dumervil.

A police report said the 28-year-old Dumervil and another man, Andy Aguste, were stuck in traffic Saturday evening when they got into an argument with another driver, Kristine Ramirez, and the two men displayed weapons.

When police arrived, Dumervil told them he didn’t have a gun. Officers say they found a gun in the car’s glove compartment.

Dumervil was arrested on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He bonded out of jail.

■ COWBOYS - Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant is free on bond after he was arrested on a misdemeanor family violence charge.

Bryant turned himself in Monday afternoon in the southern Dallas suburb of DeSoto. His attorney, Royce West, said Bryant posted $1,500 bond after learning a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

DeSoto police said details would be released today.

■ SAINTS - New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma is asking a federal judge for a hearing Thursday on his bid to block his seasonlong suspension stemming from the league’s bounty investigation.

In a court filing, Vilma’s attorneys ask U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan to hear their request for a temporary restraining order before the Saints’ training camp opens July 23.

Berrigan didn’t immediately rule on the request.

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