While some questions remain regarding the Joe Flacco contract, plenty have been answered.
It’s a six-year, $120.6 million contract. We reported last night that Flacco will earn $51 million over the first two years and $62 million over the first three.
A cap number of $29 million in year four means that, unless Flacco will be surrounded by multiple offspring of Slappy McSlapperstein, it’s a three-year, $62 million contract that will be replaced with a new contract in 2016.
The guarantee covers $52 million, with $30 million of it fully guaranteed.
As a practical matter, $45 million is fully guaranteed (read on), and all $62 million over the first three years will be paid.
Per Albert Breer of NFL Network, Flacco receives a $29 million signing bonus; a $1 million base salary in 2013 (fully guaranteed, as if it needed to be); a $15 million option bonus in 2014 guaranteed for injury only (but, as a practical matter, it will be paid); a $6 million base salary in 2014; a $7 million option bonus in 2015 (guaranteed for injury); and a $4 million base salary in 2015.
In 2016, the salary spikes to $18.2 million. Which, coupled with bonus allocations that push the cap number to $29 million, means that it will be time to get cap relief with a new deal.
A new deal that will pay Flacco at the top of the market if he’s still performing at that level. Or a new deal that will pay him less, if that’s where he is.
And that’s where things could get interesting. If the team and the player disagree in three years on the question of where he ranks among the best quarterbacks, it could be difficult to come to a consensus on what he should earn.
Unlike Tom Brady, who has decided in advance to take less in 2015, Flacco will have the leverage of an $18.2 million base salary and a $29 million cap number in 2016.