Ray Rice and Matt Forte got what they wanted Monday: long-term contracts that sometimes elude NFL running backs.
Neither Rice nor Forte was enamored of the franchise tag, and negotiations went down to the 4 p.m. (EDT) deadline. Then Rice scored big with the Ravens, getting $40 million for five years, while Forte took a four-year, $32 million deal with the Bears.
Also getting a longer contract just before the deadline was placekicker Josh Scobee, who will stay with the Jaguars for four years and $13.8 million.
Rice led the NFL with 2,068 yards from scrimmage in making his second Pro Bowl. He helped the Ravens to their second AFC title game in his four pro seasons.
‘‘Ray has been an integral part of us earning the playoffs in each of his four seasons,’’ Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. ‘‘His production on the field speaks for itself, and his leadership in the locker room is outstanding.’’
Forte made the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2011, 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.
Each of them would have played for the $7.74 million franchise tag — the average of the five highest-paid players at running back — had they not gotten the new contracts.
‘‘I'm proud to be a Chicago Bear and excited to be here for another four years,’’ Forte said in a statement released by the Bears.
‘‘I've been working hard this offseason and am looking forward to joining my teammates at training camp next week. I'm glad the business part is done and we can all turn our attention to football and our goal of winning a championship.’’
Scobee’s tender would have been worth $2.88 million for 2012. His new deal is worth $3.45 million annually, with $4.75 million guaranteed. There are $400,000 worth of incentives Scobee could reach.
Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski ($4 million annually) and Phil Dawson ($3.81 million) are the only kickers scheduled to make more than Scobee in 2012. His new deal tops recent ones signed by Tampa Bay’s Connor Barth ($3.3 million) and Denver’s Matt Prater ($3.25 million), who both were franchised.
Players stuck with their one-year tenders are Lions defensive end Cliff Avril, $10.6 million; Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes, $10.2 million; and Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe, $9.5 million; Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer, $8.8 million; 49ers safety Dashon Goldson, $6.2 million; Redskins tight end Fred Davis, $5.446 million; and Bengals kicker Mike Nugent, one year, $2.6 million.
Vilma goes to court
Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma asked a federal judge in New Orleans for a hearing Thursday on his bid to block his season-long suspension stemming from the bounty investigation. In a court filing, Vilma’s attorneys asked US District Judge Helen Berrigan to hear their request for a temporary restraining order before the Saints’ training camp opens next Monday. Vilma wants to attend training camp so he can continue receiving treatment for a knee injury . . . Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant is free on bond after he was arrested on a misdemeanor family violence charge. Bryant turned himself in to police in the Dallas suburb of DeSoto. His attorney, Royce West, says Bryant posted $1,500 bond after learning a warrant had been issued for his arrest. DeSoto police said details would be released Tuesday . . . The Browns signed rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon to a four-year, $5.3 million contract.