Ray Rice in line to make $24 million by March

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After four years of slotted second-round money, Ravens running back Ray Rice is getting paid.  Plenty.

A source with knowledge of the contract has shared the full details.

Rice receives a $15 million signing bonus on his new five-year deal, along with a non-guaranteed base salary of $2 million in 2012.  (The base salary is essentially guaranteed, because the Ravens won’t be cutting him this year.)

Next year, a $7 million option bonus is due in March, with a $1 million base salary.  The option bonus is guaranteed for injury; as a practical matter, the base salary is guaranteed, too, because the Ravens won’t cut him in 2013 if they pay the $7 million.

And if they don’t pay the $7 million, Rice will have made $17 million for one year.

In 2014, Rice is due to earn a base salary of $4 million.  In 2015 and 2016, Rice is due to earn a base salary of $3 million each season.

The deal also includes a $5 million one-time incentive/escalator.  If he reaches specific rushing/receiving targets in any of the first three years of the deal, and if the team finishes in the top 10 in total offense, Rice receives a $1 million incentive in he year he accomplishes the feat — and another $4 million is spread over the remaining years of the deal.

For example, if Rice hits the trigger in 2012, he’ll add $1 million to his $17 million haul, and another $1 million per year to the balance of the deal.  If he does it in 2014, he gets $1 million then plus $2 million in each of the final two years of the deal.

As to the final two years of the deal, the $3 million salary is light.  So if he’s still playing at a high level then, he can hold out for more.  With at least $29 million earned, he’ll be able to afford the daily training-camp fines.

Most importantly from an internal accounting standpoint, the contract reduces Rice’s cap number in 2012 from $7.7 million to $5 million, creating an extra $2.7 million in much-needed space.  Previously, the Ravens had less than $700,00 in wiggle room.