I’d be willing to bet that all Joe Flacco’s agent had to do during the contract negotiations with the Ravens brass, is carry around a copy of the picture above, and hold it up every time they tried to low ball him, or utter the words “franchise tag.”
Joe Flacco and his agent, Joe Linta, have had the upper hand in these contract talks ever since that historic night in New Orleans when Flacco brought home the teams second Lombardi Trophy and the games MVP award. His 63 wins since he emerged in 2008 is the most in the NFL. He also now shares the same amount of Super Bowl rings as Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers. Flacco has started every single game since he was called upon in the pre-season of 2008 when Troy Smith had tonsillitis and Kyle Boller… was being Kyle Boller. Doesn’t mean Flacco never gets hurt. He plays through the pain, most notably playing the majority of the 2009 season on one good leg.
Joe Flacco is reliable, tough. He is a winner. Joe Flacco is someone you would want your children to model themselves after, and call him their role model. He goes about life and the game of football the way everyone should. He may not be loud, boisterous, extroverted, but neither was Johnny Unitas. Flacco leads by example. Despite being the most scrutinized athlete in Baltimore sports history, Joe Flacco went out and brought home the hardware that puts him in a class with a select few quarterbacks. There is no reason to believe that Joe Flacco’s agent would get anything less than top dollar for his client.
Flacco will become the highest paid player in NFL history when he signs on the dotted line on Monday. The contract is rumored to be a six-year, 120.6 million dollar deal. Or about one million dollars per touchdown he’s thrown in his career (121 including playoffs). 60 million dollars is rumored to be guaranteed money. Some information that has been leaked from a team source, according to Mark Zinno of 105.7 The Fan, this is a “cap friendly” deal. It benefits both Flacco and the Ravens. Joe Flacco’s cap number for 2013 could be as low as seven million dollars. One million in base salary, and six million of his guaranteed money.
We won’t know all of the details and official numbers until they file this contract with the league on Monday, but if the seven million in 2013 and heavily back loaded contract hold true, it does three things.
1. It gives the Ravens some wiggle room with other players for 2013. These negotiations could have gotten ugly and gone down to the wire. It’s safe to say that this had to be the first domino in line to fall before the Ravens front office could look at the other players up for new contracts such as Danell Ellerbe, Ed Reed, Cary Williams, Paul Kruger, Arthur Jones, Anquan Boldin, Bryant McKinney, and Vonta Leach. Now that Flacco is done and they have a good idea of what his 2013 cap hit will be, they can get to work on some of these other guys.
2. The salary cap will be higher in years 2015-2019. So even if Flacco is due more money in those years, they will have more room under the cap to accommodate his salary increase. A lot of the salary cap number is predicated on television revenue. As long as people keep watching, which they will, the cap will go up.
3. You can now restructure Flacco’s deal later down the line. The Steelers did it with Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady does it almost every year. It’s just the way the league works these days. Once Flacco has earned a large amount of that 120.6 million, I don’t believe at that point he’ll have any problem at age 32 or 33 restructuring his deal and taking a contract extension to stay in Baltimore.
For the fans that think this is a bad deal and think you can find a cheap QB anywhere, and you don’t need a franchise QB to be competitive, that notion is ludicrous and I’m not even going to entertain it. No one needs me to name drop the list of QBs post-Trent Dilfer who failed to lead the team where Joe Flacco ultimately has. No doubt, signing Flacco long term is the best possible outcome for the Ravens and their fans.
The front office didn’t insult Joe Flacco with a low deal. Futhermore, the franchise tag would have been a slap in the face. A franchise tag in this particular case would have said to him, “let’s see if you can back it up next year,” when he has clearly proved his worth by winning a ton of games and being mentioned in the same breath as Joe Montana as far as post season performances go.
The Ravens locked up a great quarterback for a long time, while not compromising the team in 2013. They should be able to work out something with Ellerbe for sure, maybe Boldin, McKinney, and for some reason I feel like Ed Reed too. More on this to come as the other shoes will now begin to drop.
In closing, something to humor you. If Joe Flacco translates his postseason numbers over a 16 game season next year, he’ll throw for 4,560 yards, 44 TDs, and of course 0 INTs.