The Ravens did not have much of a choice when they offered Joe Flacco a 6 year, $120.6 million contract. He had just led the Baltimore Ravens to their second Super Bowl in franchise history, and was up for a new contract. The Ravens were in a tough position while Flacco and his agent were sitting pretty. Baltimore could not let their Super Bowl winning quarterback walk after the 2012-2013 season. It would have also been an extremely tough decision for Baltimore to give him the franchise tag. The franchise tag number would have been $14,896,000 in 2013 for a Quarterback, but not committing to Flacco long term after he led the team to the Super Bowl would be a huge slap in the face.
In the playoffs, he averaged 285 yards per game and threw 11 Touchdown’s with zero interceptions while taking home the Super Bowl MVP award. You cannot get much better than that. His consistency during the regular season was sometimes questioned; however, he answered those questions during the playoffs. He played nearly flawless football for the four most important games of the season.
The average annual value of the contract makes him the highest paid player in the NFL. Nobody would have even thought that was possible at the beginning of the season, except for Flacco himself. Just by tuning into local Baltimore sports talk shows in August, you would have heard debates on whether or not to let Flacco walk at the end of the year. This year’s turn around was impressive and he peaked at the perfect time. The Super Bowl win and MVP put him into the “Elite” category right as his contract was expiring.
The deal for the Ravens could have a negative on the ability for the Ravens to sign other players to long term deals. While the cap hit in 2013 is only $6.8 million and in 2014 and 2015 the cap hit just over $14.5 million. However after 2015 it will increase to over $24 million in each of the next three years. The Ravens have some big name free agents including the likes of linebacker Paul Kruger, safety Ed Reed, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, and cornerback Cary Williams. I do not think that the Ravens will end up using the franchise tag on any of these players because of the huge hit that would have on the salary cap for these positions. The flexibility of Flacco’s deal in the first three years could give the Ravens the space to give Ed Reed a one year contract as well as lock up Ellerbe for close to three years. The Ravens will probably let Paul Kruger walk though.
The Ravens made the right decision to lock up Joe Flacco long term. They made it clear which direction the franchise wants to go in and that means good things for Ravens fans. The Baltimore Ravens should continue to be competitive for the next few seasons and having a leader like Joe Flacco at quarterback will always mean a chance of winning another Super Bowl.
By Eric Wolniak