Flacco-Ravens contract talks should be interesting

QB declined to sign extension before season, now could move into Brees-Manning territory

NEW ORLEANS — If the thought of playing out the last year of his contract makes Jay Cutler uncomfortable, he might want to consider the case of Joe Flacco.

The Ravens quarterback is in the last year of his deal. But he's not uncomfortable now.

In the process of putting the finishing touches on a fine season, the 28-year-old has set himself up to be one of the NFL's highest paid passers.

The Ravens tried to sign Flacco to an extension before the season but couldn't come to an agreement.

"It's real simple," Flacco said. "We didn't agree on a number and I didn't really care to discuss it any further once it got to that point. Bottom line is I'm not the guy going up into their offices and negotiating with them every day anyway. It was really never a concern of mine and I never really thought about it."

Because of Flacco's unflappable nature, his contract situation appeared to have no effect on his performance.

"Joe is very even-keeled," Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta explained. "He's not an emotional player. He was able to focus on winning games, practicing well and doing all the important things."

Ravens owner Steven Bisciotti, general manager Ozzie Newsome and DeCosta are among those who have expressed confidence in getting a deal done with Flacco.

"We want Joe back," DeCosta said. "That's the No. 1 priority for us. And I know Joe wants to be here. We're all excited about the future with Joe."

Newsome has said he and Flacco "are in a good spot."

But the Baltimore Sun has quoted a league source saying the sides are "miles apart" on total value and guaranteed money. And there have been leaks saying the Flacco camp believes he has outplayed Peyton Manning, who earns $19.2 million per year, and that they want him to be paid like Drew Brees, who signed a five-year deal before the season for a $20 million average with a $40 million guarantee.

The interesting part of Flacco's situation is both sides still have significant control over his next contract.

The Ravens can control his salary with a franchise tag that would pay him $14.6 million for one year.

And Flacco can affect his value with his performance in Super Bowl XLVII.

The money — and the ring — are within his grasp.

Numbers games: Moss' place in history

Receiver Randy Moss of the 49ers claimed this week he was the greatest pass catcher in NFL history.

The numbers argue otherwise.

Moss has 15,292 receiving yards, which ranks third all time. He is 7,603 behind Jerry Rice, who is the greatest receiver by most statistical measures.

Moss has scored 156 touchdowns, also third all time, 41 behind Rice.

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