With both sides in the Joe Flacco contract talks engaged in plenty of negotiation through the media, the sooner the two sides get together, the better off everyone will be.
And while Peter King of SI.com reported earlier today that talks will commence this week, agent Joe Linta tells PFT that nothing is scheduled yet.
Linta says that negotiations likely will get started next week, in conjunction with the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
This means that the talks will start after the two-week window for applying the franchise tag opens, on February 18. With the Ravens now sending signals that they may not use the exclusive franchise tender on Flacco, we wouldn’t be surprised if they slap the non-exclusive tag early in the process. That would set Flacco’s one-year guaranteed pay at $14.6 million, far less than the exclusive tender of more than $20 million.
In this slowly-unfolding game of chicken, using the non-exclusive franchise tag would expose Flacco to an offer from another team. And while a team like the Browns could choose to extended a frontloaded proposal to Flacco in order to steal him away from Baltimore, Flacco would have to want to leave the Ravens before he would sign an offer with another team.
Ultimately, the Ravens could decide to bank on Flacco not wanting to leave.
It would still be a dangerous escalation by the Ravens. In the end, however, maybe it’s better to save the money and pocket the two first-round picks in lieu of doing a big-money deal that chews up so much cap space that it will be impossible to contend for most of the years of Flacco’s deal.