Predicting the Ray Rice Contract

Predicting the Ray Rice Contract
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Contract Forecast: Ray Rice

One of the most explosive players in the NFL the past few seasons has been the one-man wrecking show that is Ray Rice, running back for the Baltimore Ravens. Like Bears running back Matt Forte, Rice has been franchise tagged by his respective team and in response is seeking a long-term contract. Without diving into the numbers yet, on paper Rice and Forte have similar resumes: Both backs are the clear-cut #1 option in their offense. Both backs start behind quarterbacks with talent, but who haven't reached their elite potential. And both backs are multi-tooled, in that they mean as much to the passing game as they do to the running game.

The Spotrac team recently analyzed a contract prediction for Forte that brought forth interestingly low numbers. That being said, the Chicago Tribune is reporting that Rice is currently seeking a contract near $10 million per year.

To find our answer for Rice, we'll break down the numbers for Rushing Yards per year, Average Yards per Carry, Rushing TD per year, Receiving Yards per year, Average Yards per Reception, Receiving TD per year, and Games Played.
Comparable Running Backs
To generate a prediction the Spotrac team determined that Maurice Jones Drew, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, and Fred Jackson were viable targets to breakdown. Here we display the noted statistics for each back over his career and over the last two years, resulting in a percentage of how the player was performing prior to signing his deal.
Ray Rice (BAL) Career Last 2 Seasons Prime %
Rushing Yards/Year 1,094 1,292 118%
Average Yards/Carry 4.3 4.35 101%
Rushing TD/Year 6 8.5 142%
Receiving Yards/Year 558.75 630 113%
Average Yards/Reception 8.9 9.05 102%
Receiving TD/Year 1.25 2 160%
Games Per Year 15.25 16 105%
Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC) Career Last 2 Seasons Prime %
Rushing Yards/Year84477091%
Average Yards/Carry4.834.491%
Rushing TD/Year11.310.593%
Receiving Yards/Year469.3486104%
Average Yards/Reception9.69.65101%
Receiving TD/Year1.33175%
Games Per Year15.615.599%
Arian Foster (HOU) Career Last 2 Seasons Prime %
Rushing Yards/Year1,0321,420138%
Average Yards/Carry4.74.6599%
Rushing TD/Year9.6713134%
Receiving Yards/Year438610.5139%
Average Yards/Reception10.310.4101%
Receiving TD/Year1.332150%
Games Per Year11.614.5125%
LeSean McCoy (PHI) Career Last 2 Seasons Prime %
Rushing Yards/Year1,0091,194118%
Average Yards/Carry4.85104%
Rushing TD/Year9.312129%
Receiving Yards/Year405453.5112%
Average Yards/Reception7.37.197%
Receiving TD/Year1.671.67100%
Games Per Year15.31598%
Fred Jackson (BUF) Career Last 2 Seasons Prime %
Rushing Yards/Year758.8930.5123%
Average Yards/Carry4.64.85105%
Rushing TD/Year3.25.5172%
Receiving Yards/Year307328.5107%
Average Yards/Reception8.89.1103%
Receiving TD/Year0.81125%
Games Per Year13.21398%
Taking a look at these breakdowns shows that while statistically his numbers are comparable to these running backs, he hasn't exceeded his career numbers in the recent snapshot. In short, he's essentially the same back today that he was 4 years ago. In fact in terms of the Bears, he appears to be most valuable as a receiving threat, and less valuable as a touchdown producer.
Player Length Value Avg. Salary Prime % Age When Signed
Maurice Jones-Drew 5 $30.95 million $6.19 million 93.4% 24
Arian Foster 5 $43.5 million $8.7 million 126.6% 25
LeSean McCoy 6 $45.615 million $7.602 million 108.3% 23
Fred Jackson 3 $10.805 million $3.601 million 119% 31
Average 4.75 $6.523 million 24% 25.75
Numerically, our numbers reveal 4.75 years at $6.5 million per year. Rice's 120% prime percentage sets him 24% higher than the compliation of these backs prior to their contract signing. Rice is currently 25, so our averages seem to be in-line with the variables we're using in comparison.
Length of the Contract
Rice's durability and production over his career, and specifically his past two seasons provides him with a little more leverage in terms of this contract than the variable running backs may be concerned. Only Jones-Drew has missed less games than Rice. At age 25, and clearly playing in his prime currently, we'll round up our numbers to a 5 year contract.

Value of the Contract
The 5 year contract matches the recent terms for Arian Foster's contract, who's average per year is a whopping $8.7 million. Our findings provide us with a $6.5 million per season base salary to work with. Multiplying the 24% prime number in this adds $1.5 million per year, and we'll do this in light of Rice's durability, importance to the team, and lack of another "trusted" running back on the current Ravens roster. This brings our average salary per year to $8.803 million.
Spotrac's Prediction: 5 years, $40.415 million