The Baltimore Ravens took gamble by allowing QB Joe Flacco to enter the final year of his rookie deal. Their cap situation almost certainly played into their decision, but they still ran the risk that Flacco could justify his asking price or even surpass that figure based on his play in 2012.
Saturday’s performance against the Broncos will clearly help his chances of securing a very large contract at some point in the future.
“I’ve been the one putting him on a pedestal saying, ‘Joe’s a top-five, elite quarterback, and he’s proving it,” said Flacco’s agent Joe Linta, per Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “He’s in the rarified air of having already won seven playoff games in his short career. He’s really demonstrating that he’s one of the top guys out there.”
The average salary for the top five quarterbacks in the league comes out to over $17 million per season. Using their franchise tag on him in 2012 will run them $14.6 million, while also buying them some additional time to renegotiate a long-term deal.
Baltimore could have as much as $15.7 million to work with during the offseason, but addressing Flacco leaves little room for them to improve their roster in other areas, not to mention retaining some of their free agents like Ed Reed, Cary Williams, Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe.
We have Flacco currently listed as the No. 9 best available player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.