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Flacco deal gives Ravens plenty of options in 2013

Joe Flacco AP

Instead of devoting nearly $15 million to quarterback Joe Flacco as the non-exclusive franchise player (and risking losing him) or more than $19 million as the exclusive franchise player, the new deal signed by Flacco counts for only $6.8 million against the 2013 salary cap.

Which means that the Ravens have much more flexibility when it comes to keeping or signing other players.

“I know we have a lot of good players on the team, and I love to play with those guys so hopefully it works out very good for the organization and we can keep as many people as we need,” Flacco said Monday, via the Baltimore Sun.  “That’s all I really know. . . .  When you get to a point where you’re happy with it, then it’s all about saying, ‘All right I’m good.’  Now let’s take care of the rest of the guys.”

So what do the Ravens do?

They don’t have many unrestricted free agents, but nearly all of them are big names.  Linebacker Paul Kruger, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, cornerback Cary Williams, tackle Bryant McKinnie, and defensive tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu are all unrestricted.

The restricted free agents are tight end Dennis Pitta, tight end Ed Dickson, and defensive lineman Arthur Jones.  Keeping each of them for another year will be less expensive, and it will come with the ability to match any offers received elsewhere.  (Besides, the restricted free agent market has dried up in recent years.)

It could be harder to keep the unrestricted free agents.  Safety Ed Reed has said he wants to stay, but he’s going to want to be paid.  Before he’ll take whatever the Ravens will offer, he’ll need to see what else is out there, like Ray Lewis did four years ago.  (And there continues to be a belief that the Pats and coach Bill Belichick will make a play for Reed.)

As to the two linebackers and Williams, there’s a growing belief that former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano will come after one or more of them, given that Pagano’s current team, the Colts, has more than $40 million in cap space.

In the end, the Ravens may decide that, even though the Flacco deal gives them plenty of cap space, it’s not worth overspending.  If the Ravens decide to hold their cap space, they can carry it over to 2014 and beyond.

Actually, that could be the best option.  Given that Flacco’s cap number shoots to $29 million in 2016, it’s smarter to bank it for the future than to waste it now on players who want more than they objectively deserve.

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24 Responses to “Flacco deal gives Ravens plenty of options in 2013”
  1. ravenator says: Mar 5, 2013 9:30 AM

    Best front office in the league. Not sure where all this hate comes from for signing a superbowl MVP. Must be the last five years of being the only team to win a playoff game, three AFC championship appearances, capping it off with a Super Bowl victory (which by the way they re undefeated in). What’s your team done lately?

  2. bucrightoff says: Mar 5, 2013 9:35 AM

    “It’s smarter to bank it for the future than to waste it now on players who want more than they objectively deserve.”
    __________________________________

    More than they objectively deserve….like Joe Flacco maybe? This is why that deal will kill them. Sure, its a decent cap number next year, but the guys they want to sign want long term deals, like Flacco, for the money they deserve, like Flacco. But because you need $30 million in cap space in two years for the 10th best QB in the league, you’re going to need a lot of rookies to step up on these cheap deals because you won’t be able to afford the best players long term.

  3. ac540 says: Mar 5, 2013 9:36 AM

    The Ravens aren’t re-signing Kruger. They want him to get paid, and paid well. His contract and his original draft position (2nd round) get thrown into the mix for a compensatory pick next year in the draft, and the higher the deal he gets usually leads to a better comp pick. Not sure why that’s such a mystery.

  4. humbleminded85 says: Mar 5, 2013 9:48 AM

    Spent 2 days trying to explain to a coworker how cap friendly this deal is and how people really think he’s killing us for 20 mil a year, sadly like most Flacco haters he tries vigorously to say that it is still a bad deal regardless. On another note, does anyone remember back in the day when individual stats where just a baseball thing? Ahh yess… pre-fantasy football… those were the day’s (sigh)

  5. eflem80 says: Mar 5, 2013 9:51 AM

    Pitta & Ellerbe are the only crucial FA’s on the team left. Williams had his moments but with Webb back next season he becomes very expendable. Kruger’s success came mostly due to the return of Suggs & as great as Reed has been, his age showed more than Lewis’s over the past two seasons.

  6. lovefootball4life says: Mar 5, 2013 10:01 AM

    All was good until the last paragraph which was thrown in to kick start comments from the clueless. We all know that’s not going to happen.

    About the 2013 unrestricted class, it would be a shame to lose anyone, but Ellerbe would be the worst. Reed I expect will come back after not getting what he wants in FA. The others have some depth to groom.

  7. skeebo80 says: Mar 5, 2013 10:08 AM

    Just as Flaaco got more than he deserves. Ellerbe def deserves his payday too.

  8. ridingwithnohandlebars says: Mar 5, 2013 10:09 AM

    Kruger and Williams are probably gone. I can see them bringing Ellerbe back but at the right price since he does have some injury issues.

    Would not be surprised if they make Reed an offer but allow him to test the market if he feels that it is too low, similar to what happened with Ray Lewis before he signed his last contract.

  9. RavenzGunnerz says: Mar 5, 2013 10:13 AM

    I will keep Ellerbe, the rest can go. I will miss Kruger, but I have a feeling Upshaw can plug in there and do the job.

  10. crownofthehelmet says: Mar 5, 2013 10:19 AM

    Any way you slice it, you just handed your average QB $50M in guaranteed money.

    Oh, it might not hurt you today, or even tomorrow. But eventually, it will hurt.

  11. hscorpio says: Mar 5, 2013 10:25 AM

    Given that years 3-6 of Flacco’s deal have about $30 mil in unamortized cap space to allocate, the Ravens will need all the cap space they can push forward to field a competitive team. And that doesn’t even get into the contract re-do for Flacco after year 3. He’ll have all the leverage to get another big payday, from the Ravens or somebody else.

    Paying a guy $50 mil over 2 years and only counting $21 mil of that will do that to ‘ya. It’s not what I call smart cap management. It seems straight out of the “max out the credit cards and then get another” school of financial management.

  12. crownofthehelmet says: Mar 5, 2013 10:29 AM

    Our company’s been doing well and I recently started employment contract negotiations with my boss. I rejected his 1st proposal, citing that I was worth more.

    5 meetings later, we agreed on a number yesterday. Upon signing, I looked him in the eye and said, “it was never really about the money.” I was promptly fired for violating the honesty clause.

  13. patfanken says: Mar 5, 2013 10:29 AM

    How cap friendly is it. There is over $20MM that the Ravens are deferring into the future. That money eventually has to start to come into fruition and it starts in 2015 with a $29MM cap number.

    This isn’t brilliant cap management, its more, “lets take advantage of a 2 year window, and we’ll blow it up later” strategy. With structure like this ANY team can create cap space, it takes no brilliance at all.

    Ozzie is a great GM, but this strategy tells us he is keeping the window open for the next 2 years, and then he’ll have to rebuild. Nothing wrong with this as a strategy, but lets not pretend its something other than what it is.

    Hey, I wouldn’t object to the Pats doing something similar. They could resign Welker Talib and Volmer to back similarly back end loaded deals and get all 3 done for less than $12MM on this year’s cap, and still have another $12MM for other FA’s. Its a great strategy if your are looking at a 2-3 year window before you wind up with a cap situation that looks like the Jets.

  14. haterade999 says: Mar 5, 2013 10:36 AM

    We live in a nation of jealous idiots.

    Reading comprehension, maths, and basic morals are not high on the list of most Americans these days.

    Therefore, it’s easy to see why a man is hated for gambling on himself, working his ass off, and winning in the end.

    Most Americans wouldn’t know hard work from hard wood these days.

  15. jdfrox says: Mar 5, 2013 10:44 AM

    Luckily Ozzie Newsome knows more than any of us and he will make the right moves. When was the last time the Ravens lost a free agent they truly wanted to keep and regretted it? They churn out inside linebackers like the Steelers churn out outside linebackers (yes, that was a compliment to the Steelers). Ellerbe was a rookie free agent just like Bart Scott before him. The Ravens also have had no trouble historically finding safeties. The big decision is McKinnie. He was huge in the playoffs but will he play at that level for 16 games plus the postseason? Doubtful. But the O-line was, in my opinion, the key to Flacco’s success down the stretch.

  16. bmoreravens1012013 says: Mar 5, 2013 10:47 AM

    Notice how there are no Flacco/Raven haters posting on this article. Makes too much sense and the haters can’t punch holes in it so they just do what haters do when facts get in the way of stupidity…..wait for it……they dissapear….# crickets# lmfao !!!

  17. neepo13 says: Mar 5, 2013 11:38 AM

    I think it is a forgone conclusions that the Ravens are content to allow Cary Williams and Kruger walk. Williams said as much himself recently. In fact, I could have told you before the season that Williams was in his last year with the team. Kruger is going to demand a top flight contract and he’s not a top flight player. He is a situational pass rusher and a liability against run heavy teams, which is why Upshaw saw more PT in the Superbowl. I firmly believe something will get worked out with Ellerbe. And I believe Reed will find that his value is highest in Baltimore. Before Ray hit free agency there was all this talk about Dallas or the Jets making a run at him, and then there was nothing. Teams just don’t pay for old injury prone players. That will not be different for Reed.

  18. schrutebeetfarms says: Mar 5, 2013 12:56 PM

    Ok i think that’s enough postings on Flacco’s contract now.

  19. scoobies05 says: Mar 5, 2013 1:12 PM

    oh crown. your jealousy is amusing. the ravens got their franchise qb locked up to a cp friendly deal thus being able to keep our core guys and resign our free agents. meanwhile have of the steelers are restructuring thus ensuring continued cap problems for year to come. oh well…go ravens

  20. ampatsisahypocrite says: Mar 5, 2013 1:45 PM

    Joe Flacco is the prime example of America becoming an entitlement society. Flacco plays the role of the welfare collector, supported by the real producers (Jones, Rice, Boldin) who have done all the work for him and paid into the system.

    Joe Flacco IS the 47 percent.

  21. crownofthehelmet says: Mar 5, 2013 1:48 PM

    Actually scoobs, I couldn’t be happier they locked up Flacco.

    And do you realize the irony in knocking the Steelers for restructuring, when your QB is due $30M in a few years, requiring a restructure? Looks to me like little sister is following big brother’s act, again.

  22. mysterytonite says: Mar 5, 2013 2:08 PM

    Just a matter of time, they may not be up against it in 2013, but that contract will come back to bite them. It’s not like they had any options, Flacco pretty much forced them to cough up the cash with his playoff run, but everyone knows he isn’t worth what he is getting. Maybe when he strings together subpar years he will be a team player and restructure……bwahahahahahaha. Pittsburgh 2.0 baby.

  23. ravgt says: Mar 5, 2013 2:15 PM

    Why is there no mention of or discussion about Boldin? Have I missed something?

  24. scoobies05 says: Mar 5, 2013 2:36 PM

    crown you are right…flacco will need to be restructured. the difference is we arent restructuring the rest of the team too. that pretty important to consider my friend. looks like the so called little brother has improved on the mistakes of the old slow brother

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