Plenty of teams try to sign an impending free agent to long-term contracts, so that the franchise tag can be used on someone else. Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome had said last month that the Ravens wouldn’t be doing that, if they signed quarterback Joe Flacco.
And they didn’t tag anyone else. Which means that, absent new deals, players like linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, linebacker Paul Kruger, tackle Bryant McKinnie, safety Ed Reed, and cornerback Cary Williams will be hitting the open market.
So why did the Ravens rush to get a deal done with Flacco? Obviously, they didn’t want to have to choose between the non-exclusive and exclusive tenders.
The latter would have put Flacco on track for a year-to-year haul that would have approached $75 million, $13 million more than he’ll make from 2013 through 2015. The former would have exposed him to a front-loaded offer sheet from a team like the Browns.
So instead of grossly overpaying Flacco over the next three years or risking losing him for the next six or more, they got the deal done.