Flacco’s extension- What does it mean?

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Joe Flacco just signed a 3 year extension with the Ravens. 3 years, $66.4 million are great numbers, but what exactly do they mean? These numbers have a long-term and a short-term impact.

As far as Flacco and “his people” are concerned, it means that Flacco may have the best agent in the business. Just 3 years ago, Flacco signed a long-term deal that offered him $50 million in guaranteed money. Now, he signed a 3 year extension that gives him another $44 million guaranteed. That means that in 3 years, Flacco’s agent was able to get him $94 million in guarnateed money.

As for the Ravens, this was a solid move on their part too. Flacco was scheduled to have a $28.55 million cap hit against the team this year. Because of the extensions, Flacco will “only” count for $22.55 million against the cap. $6 million doesn’t seem like much in the NFL, but that’s enough money to sign a good mid-level player. A few names that I think could be under that $6 million and might be worth a look Chris Ivory (use a multiple running back scheme), Ladarius Green (I don’t trust Pitta’s hip), Donald Penn, Sean Smith, Leon Hall.

If the Ravens aren’t interested in free agency, there is a guy named Kelechi who they should keep in a Ravens uniform. I don’t think $6 million will cut it, but that will definitely help. Osemele should get about $10 million, and the Ravens just freed up more than half of that, so let’s keep the big guy in Baltimore. He’s been great for the Ravens; he is starting to play as well as Yanda, and is able to play both tackles and both guards. A potential perennial pro bowler who is 26 years old and offers positional flexibility? He should already be locked up long term.

Now for the long-term out look. First, as far as (most) fans are concerned the Ravens have best QB  in franchise history (which excludes the Baltimore Colts) locked up until he is 35. Most would assume that if he stays with the Ravens until he’s 35, he’s going to stay for his entire career. He already has most of the major records for the Ravens, and will be in Baltimore until 2021 at the least.

As for the team, this guarantees consistency as long as Flacco is there. Until 2015, Flacco was one of the healthiest QB’s in the game. As great as that health is, his performance consistently helps the Ravens into the playoffs. In the last five years, the only teams that made the playoffs without a good quarterback (at the time) were the Vikings (Christian Ponder), Broncos (Tim Tebow), and Texans (Brian Hoyer). Having a franchise type QB offers you the stability you need to focus on the rest of the team. What’s more, having that franchise QB gives you a long-term leader in the locker room. Flacco may not sound like Ray Lewis or Ed Reed, but he certainly is the head of that locker room, and players will have to respect him for years to come.

A bit of an abstract advantage to this is that the Ravens get some great publicity with the extension. Flacco didn’t have to wait until he was ready to walk for a new contract. Flacco didn’t even have to argue with the organization and beg for an extension. The Ravens, in good will to a reliable player, went to Flacco and asked if they could extend him. Players are going to take note of that. Shannon Sharpe famously (at least famous to Ravens fans) told other players that they should come to Baltimore because of how the Ravens interact with their players.

Good news travels fast. Players don’t enjoy contract negotiations any more than the fans do. It’s the “dirty” part of the job. Any player who says otherwise is probably lying. Offering a player long-term job security, and giving him the payday that he deserves shows that the Ravens respect their players. That will attract free agents in the future, and that will make the team better.

Ozzie Newsome was quoted as saying that this wasn’t about creating cap space. It was about making sure Flacco could stay with the team.I think he’s trying to put a publicity spin on something that was a win-win for player and team. Newsome also, candidly, told reporters that it was about the long-term. There are general managers don’t know what to do when their best option is Manziel, Cutler, or Nick Foles. Newsome has a lot to focus on, but QB and stability in his organization isn’t on the list.

I’ve never seen a dynasty team where there wasn’t a great QB. They say “Defense wins championships”, but I think defense can win A championship- 1 Superbowl. Great defenses change from year to year, but having a great QB will last much longer. Manning’s Colts and Brady’s Patriots were always in contention because of the QB, not the defense.

Do you think Flacco is worth the additional $40 million? Is he someone that you would feel confident in leading your team?

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