The Ravens have displayed a bizarre degree of stubbornness regarding the new contract recently given to quarterback Joe Flacco. At the team’s official website, for example, the headline blared that the “Ravens Extended Joe Flacco To Win, Not Save Cap Room.”
“As much as the media doesn’t believe him, Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome continues to say that his team didn’t have to reach a contract extension with quarterback Joe Flacco to remain competitive,” the article states.
“We did not do a deal to gain cap room,” the article quotes Newsome as saying. “We did a deal so Joe Flacco could be on this football team for the next six years.”
With all due respect to the Ravens, why are they trying to hard to make this look like something that it wasn’t? With Flacco’s cap number skyrocketing from $14.55 million in 2015 to $28.55 million in 2016 under his old deal, of course the move was driven by cutting down his cap number. Why else would any team extend the contract of a player rehabbing an ACL tear when the player has three years left on his current contract?
Appearing on Friday’s PFT Live, Flacco made it clear that the new contract came from cap concerns.
“We’ve got a bunch of good players and we’ve got a great foundation already but with the way the deal was before I mean it might not have been this year but at some point there was gonna be a strain on what we could do and what kind of guys we could bring in,” Flacco said. “You don’t wanna see any of the guys on your team have to be let go because of some issue with the cap and I wanted to play here. I wanted to play here, I want to play here, continue to play here for a long time. So getting something done I just felt like it helped out you know a couple things. It keeps me here for a long time and it also allows us to go do some things that you know we may need to do and it allows us to keep guys that we might have to think about doing things with if we didn’t get anything done.”
It’s actually better for the Ravens to admit that the new contract was necessitated by a prior contract that paid out $62 million over three years with only $36 million of the amount hitting the cap than to create the impression that they’ll spontaneously rip up the contract of a player they like with three years left on it. It’s a bad precedent that invites other players who don’t like their current deals to begin clamoring for a new contract.
Sure, the Ravens can say they only do that with their quarterback. Or maybe they’ll say later what they just should have said now, since it’s also the truth: They gave a quarterback with three years left on his existing deal and a new ACL a new contract because they didn’t want to carry a $28.55 million cap number for him int0 2016.