The deadline for franchise tag players reaching long-term deals came and went as of 4 p.m. today.
Two of the big deadline winners were Chicago’s Matt Forte and Baltimore’s Ray Rice, both of whom signed deals before Monday’s deadline.
The Forte contract is a four-year, $32 million deal that ends a potential training-camp draining holdout before it got off the ground.
Despite missing the last four games of the season, Forte has proven to be a durable player in Chicago. He played in the first 50 games of his NFL career before a sprained MCL sidelined him in 2011.
Chicago’s potential shift to a meatier passing attack led by Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall may cut into Forte’s touches in 2012. The five-year pro caught at least 50 passes in each of his first four seasons but Mike Martz will give way to Mike Tice as offensive coordinator.
Another question mark revolves around Michael Bush, who signed to backup Forte. Alas, there will be some mouths to feed in Chicago besides Forte.
According to NFL Network, Rice’s deal wrapped up close to Monday’s deadline. Reportedly, the former Rutgers running back reached a five-year, $40 million agreement.
Rice led the NFL with 2,068 total yards from scrimmage and scored 15 touchdowns while carrying the Ravens to the doorstep of a Super Bowl appearance.
Welker joined others including Detroit defensive end Cliff Avril, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer, and Kansas City wide receiver Dwayne Bowe as franchise tag players that failed to reach long-term agreements with their teams.