As the Ravens and quarterback Joe Flacco attempt to work out a long-term deal before the March 4 deadline for applying the franchise tag to the Super Bowl MVP, it sounds like Flacco won’t be willing to give his team a hometown discount.
Instead, any breaks given to the Ravens will be accomplished via the structure of the deal. That’s what agent Joe Linta said during a recent appearance on PFT Live.
“I would say to you, of the other 52 players on the roster, how many of the other 52 [took less money]?” said Linta, who has argued Flacco should be the highest-paid quarterback in the league. “Do you work with [the Ravens] in terms of structure to help them out? Absolutely. But like I said, we all took risks. And I don’t think anybody was gonna feel sorry for Joe if he turned down a contract in July and didn’t have a great year and now was faced with less than what we’re talking about. Look, there’s risk on both sides, and somebody could be saying to the Ravens, ‘Hey, don’t you think it’s worth sacrificing some areas of your team to keep your franchise quarterback?’ There’s arguments on both sides, believe me.”
So the goal, as Linta explained it, is to “be creative with the contract to get what you want and structure so that it helps the Ravens and doesn’t put them in a bad place cap-wise.”
Last year, for example, a long-term deal for Saints quarterback Drew Brees dropped his cap number from $16.37 million to $10.4 million, and it delayed any dramatic jump in Brees’ cap number until 2015, when the new TV money to be paid in 2014 affects the cap. With the Ravens facing a cap number of more than $20 million for Flacco as of the start of the new league year on March 12, a long-term deal that cuts more than $6 million from Flacco’s cap number could be the difference between keep or losing one or more key players.
Of course, the cap number the Ravens are actually facing for Flacco will depend on the level of the franchise tag they plan to use. The Ravens could try to bluff Flacco and Linta by suggesting that they’ll use the non-exclusive tag ($14.6 million) and match whatever offer another team may make. But if another team crafts a contract with a gigantic 2013 cap number and a willingness to give up two first-round draft picks, the Super Bowl MVP could be changing addresses.
Stranger things have happened. And it’ll be up to the Ravens to prevent Flacco from playing for, say, the Chiefs. Or the Cardinals.
Or the Browns. That’s a development which would have more than a few Ravens fans wanting to be sedated, something Flacco’s new pal Marky Ramone could possibly arrange.