Because Flacco is entering the prime of his career at 28 years old, the New Jersey native is now expected to maintain the Ravens' competitiveness.
The structure of his deal, which has been agreed to in principle and not signed, reflects that hope as it would make him the highest-paid player in the game. Flacco's deal is extremely front-loaded, according to sources with knowledge of the details. It includes a total payout of over $61 million in the first three years that tops
"You pay players, and especially quarterbacks, based on what they can do for you going forward," said former sports agent Joel Corry, who analyzes contracts and the salary cap for National Football Post. "Ultimately with Flacco, you pay him and make him the highest-paid guy because he had that much leverage and he's a young ascending quarterback with a bright future ahead of him.
"Flacco made a great run in the playoffs after having an inconsistent regular season. He had a legendary postseason. Even though he hasn't been to a
Of course, Flacco distinguished himself in the playoffs with a stellar run.
Now, Flacco shares an
Flacco completed 57.9 percent of his passes for 1,140 yards, no interceptions and a 114.0 quarterback rating during the playoffs.
"The reason we've stuck to our guns is when you do a deal of this magnitude it should reflect on the past and the present," Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, told The Baltimore Sun on Friday night. "When coupled together, we felt strongly that Joe should be the highest-paid player in the league."
Although Linta still has to thoroughly review the agreement in principle and go over it with Flacco, who has yet to see the details, the former Delaware star has separated himself from a pack of fellow proven quarterbacks.
Flacco's annual average of $20.1 million now trumps the $20 million yearly average for Brees and the $18 million average for
His total value is above Brees' $100 million and Manning's $96 million contract, which were both negotiated by agent Tom Condon.
The total guaranteed money and signing bonus remain unknown for Flacco. Brees got $60.5 million in total guaranteed money as well as a $37 million signing bonus. Manning's deal included no signing bonus, but contained $58 million in guaranteed money as well as fully guaranteed base salaries.
Flacco's annual average also tops
But Flacco may not be at the top of the salary mountain for long. Based on what might transpire in the future, Flacco's deal could eventually be topped by pending negotiations for two other highly regarded quarterbacks.
"I totally expect Matt Ryan to be the highest paid player long-term regardless of the Flacco contract," Corry said. "And I expect the Rodgers deal to eventually blow the Ryan deal and all of the quarterback deals out of the water. It's just a matter of timing and the salary cap continuing to go up. That's how this thing works, one top deal builds on the last one."
Days before the agreement was reached, Flacco's college coach predicted that big money won't affect the low-key Flacco, who has an unassuming, stoic personality.
"Here's a guy who wasn't even sure he would get drafted at one point, and now look where he is," Delaware coach K.C. Keeler said Wednesday of Flacco, a married father whose wife, Dana, is expecting their second child. "It's all because Joe had tremendous talent and he has a great famly structure. The money will not change who Joe is. Joe would make sure of that. It would never change who he is. Joe likes who he is and he won't change for anybody.
"It's been a great marriage between Joe and the Ravens. They've got a great quarterback and it's a quarterback-driven league. So, you take care of him. In my conversations with Joe and Joe's dad, Steve Flacco, there's always been a lot of trust between them and the organization."
The Ravens narrowly avoided having to make Flacco their franchise player, which could have cost them as much as $19.086 million through an exclusive quarterback franchise tender or a $14.896 million nonexclusive tender. They were facing a Monday afternoon NFL deadline to either sign Flacco or use the franchise tender to prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent since his rookie contract had expired.
"It's better to be safe than sorry when you're talking about a quarterback like Flacco," Corry said. "You wouldn't want to give another team an opportunity to structure a deal that you couldn't match. So, signing him is the safest course of action."
This pending deal continues the Ravens' tradition of narrowly beating a league deadline with vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty hammering out another big-ticket contract.
It follows Pro Bowl running back
Two years ago, the Ravens struck a five-year, $61 million contract with Pro Bowl defensive tackle
And those deals followed the six-year, $63 million contract for outside linebacker
"The Ravens have a history of paying their guys at the top of the market," Corry said. "They always did that with