Joe Flacco’s bet on himself, the one he made last summer, has paid off and let’s just say he hit the jackpot.
Flacco opted to end talks on a new deal and see how the season played out. Now, with a Lombardi Trophy on his resume, he has agreed to a six-year- $120.6 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens that makes him the highest-paid player in NFL history (just slightly ahead of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees). The meatiest part of the deal, in light of Tom Brady’s recent contract re-do? USA Today reports that $52 million is guaranteed. Jim Corbett breaks it down this way:
The deal will count $6.8 million against the Ravens’ $123-million salary cap this season, and Flacco will receive $62 million for the first three years of the deal and $51 million for the first two years, the person said.
Flacco’s $62 million average over the first three years trumps the $60 million New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees received last summer in his six-year, $120 million deal, the previous most lucrative deal for an NFL player.
The Ravens and Flacco are expected to hold a press conference Monday afternoon, but Coach John Harbaugh texted NFL.com’s Albert Breer: “Just very happy for Joe, his family, and also for Ravens fans. He always been our QB. So to me, this is very fitting.” Linebacker Terrell Suggs texted Breer: “AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!”.
Although a great deal of cash will flow into Flacco’s account, he’s also doing the Ravens a favor. The team could use the franchise tag on another player before today’s 4 p.m. deadline, although the Baltimore Sun reports that General Manager Ozzie Newsome is not likely to do so.
While it’s great to see Flacco get paid, there’s “an entirely new type of pressure” on him, SI.com’s Chris Burke writes.
No longer is he stuck proving that he can win the big game; instead, he’ll spend the next several seasons under the financial microscope, his naysayers now turning their attention to how he performs in relation to Manning, Brady and Aaron Rodgers — the latter may indeed soon sign an extension that surpasses Flacco’s deal.
Those quarterbacks, however, are generally accepted to be the cream of the crop. Flacco, even after his magical postseason, is not there in a lot of minds.
Is that fair? Maybe not, given how this past season ended. Does it matter? Nope not one iota.
Flacco laid down an absolute career hammer in the playoffs, rendering any discussion about his “elite” status obsolete. Maybe he’s not a Hall of Famer. Heck, maybe he’s not even the best quarterback in his division. But he was arguably the top player throughout the NFL’s postseason tournament, and he will be paid accordingly.
The turnaround for Flacco, from lightning rod of criticism to this moment, was swift and stunning. What happens from here will define the success of the Ravens’ all-in move, as well as Flacco’s lasting legacy.