Sunday, March 3, 2013

Joe Flacco's New Contract: Could this Lead to a Mega-Deal for Rodgers?

If there's one thing we've learned from Joe Flacco's new contract, it's that in order to get a big-time payday all you gotta do is say you're 'the best.'

Friday afternoon the Baltimore Ravens and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Flacco agreed on a new, six-year contract which is reportedly worth $120.6 million. The contract is not likely to be fully complete until this evening or Monday morning, and Flacco will be in Baltimore to sign it on Monday. But the basics of the contract have been reported by FOX Sports' Jay Glazer and ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The new deal will make the five-year pro the highest paid player in league history, surpassing Drew Brees' $120 million contract with the Saints.
The deal comes following a Super Bowl run in which Flacco played nearly flawless football in his three postseason games and the Super Bowl, throwing for 11 TDs and zero INTs in wins over the Colts, Broncos, Patriots and 49ers. The 28-year old has never made a Pro Bowl appearance or been named to an All Pro team, but he's the only quarterback to win a postseason game in each of his first five years and holds the record for most road postseason wins (6).

The numbers show us that Flacco has been just above average in his first four seasons in the league, and was never able to get over the hump until this season. But luckily for him the timing was right. He managed to back the Ravens into the playoffs but got hot at the perfect time.

Now, instead of giving him Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady-type money, the Ravens were forced into making Flacco the highest-paid quarterback. Certainly this will keep Joe happy for the next six years, but will the Ravens end up regretting this decision? It's likely. I'd expect the contract to be restructured to benefit the Ravens after two or three years.

Despite the money being thrown at Flacco, it's still possible that the Ravens will be able to retain key defensive pieces such as Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and Ed Reed depending on how the contract is structured.
This contract has taught us a lot: 1) timing is everything 2) Baltimore is fully invested in their franchise quarterback 3) Aaron Rodgers needs a better contract.

I don't expect Flacco to hold the "highest paid quarterback" title for very long. Green Bay Packers signal caller has two years left on his contract and we can expect he'd receive an extension before it expires. In 2013, Rodgers is due $9.25 million and $10.5 million in 2014. When compared to Flacco's new deal, Rodgers is highly underpaid with his current contract. Don't be surprised if Aaron uses Joe as leverage in negotiating an extension.

Either way, fellow quarterbacks need to take notice. Perhaps this summer we will hear more NFL quarterbacks come out and reiterate Flacco's now infamous words: "I think I am the best QB in football."

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