How much leverage does quarterback Joe Flacco have in extension talks with the Ravens? Plenty, and the Ravens know it.
They know it so well that they’re trying to create some leverage of their own, by taking the position that they don’t need to knock down Flacco’s $28.55 million cap number with a new deal.
“We are in a position that we can be very active in free agency without having to get something done with Joe,” G.M. Ozzie Newsome told reporters on Wednesday, via the team’s official website.
They need to get something done with Joe because only $36 million of the $62 million he has received in the last three years has hit the cap. So now the cap number balloons from $14.55 million. Next year, it’ll pass $31 million.
That’s why a simple shuffling of dollars won’t be enough. The Ravens need to extend the deal. Which means Flacco may want to push the $20.1 million average of his last deal even higher, perhaps surpassing the current high-water mark of $22 million per year, set in 2013 by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The next step for the Ravens could be, after meeting with agent Joe Linta, to begin leaking vague details about how much Flacco wants to be paid on an extension, like someone with the Giants apparently did last year when the team was negotiating with quarterback Eli Manning, who supposedly was looking to be the highest-paid player in football.
Of course he was, but only because the leverage arising from the looming application of the franchise tag put him in a position where something more than $22 million per year was reasonable to request.
On the surface, it’s laughable to think that Flacco or Eli deserve the “highest paid” player label (which definitely would resolve the “elite” debate, as to either of them). But here’s the thing. As the salary cap continues to grow by $10 million per year or more, the tide needs to rise. Inevitably, someone who may not be the best player in football needs to become the highest-paid player in football, especially when no one has leapfrogged Rodgers in the nearly three years since he leapfrogged Flacco.
Then, the stage will be set for the truly best players in football to get what they deserve, too.