But with the deal came security, both for him and his family.
"The first thing I did, just being honest, is I got my mom a house," Rice said Wednesday, after he reported to Ravens training camp.
When the Pro Bowl running back put his name on the contract, he insisted he was more excited about the length of the deal than the wad of money that would be coming his way.
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Had Rice not signed, he would have played the 2012 season under the $7.7 million franchise tag tender.
"You take 7.7 million, anyway you cut it, still my family is going to be fine," Rice said. "When I signed, I was relieved. It was more like, 'OK, that's over with. The business side is done.' "
The contract averages out to around $8 million per year, including $17 million this season and $8 million in 2013. But for Rice, the security it brought was priceless.
"Playing under the franchise tag, me mentally, I wouldn't have known if I would be a Raven next year. That's where it scares you," he said. "It doesn't scare you in terms of financial stability because I'm going to get that. It scares you in terms of, where am I going to be next year? That feeling, I don't have to worry about."
Rice expects general manager Ozzie Newsome to get it done.
"One thing I know about Joe -- and me and Joe came in together -- is he's going to be a Raven for a long time," Rice said. "He's already said that. Joe Flacco has been a great quarterback for us. I know at the end of the day, it's going to get taken care of.
"Quite frankly, they can take care of him now or they can take care of him later, and they do have the option of the franchise tag, which gives them more time," Rice said. "When you bridge the gap, he's going to get taken care of."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.