Take a second to just try to put yourself in the shoes of upper Baltimore Ravens management…
They try to workout a deal with QB Joe Flacco last summer, but are unable to. Both sides have different opinions of Flacco’s value and for good reason. Flacco, while successful during the start of his young career, was wildly inconsistent in big games and road games and wasn’t worth a huge payday. Flacco, on the other hand, felt he was an “elite” quarterback to which many people, including myself, scoffed at. Ravens management obviously didn’t agree either, as the two sides were unable to reach an agreement. Then throughout the regular season, the Ravens offense looked… well… inconsistent until offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was replaced with Jim Caldwell at the end of the season. With the change, the Baltimore offense and Flacco put it all together and showed off a dynamic and threatening offensive attack. That led into the playoffs where Flacco blew up and put up ridiculous numbers. He threw 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions during his playoff run, while doing almost everything else a quarterback needs to do rather flawlessly. In fact, I even wrote about his performance in the Super Bowl where he showed an incredible amount of composure during San Francisco’s comeback. Despite the momentum shifting decisively to the 49ers following the lights going out in the Superdome, Flacco calmly responded when the game was on the line and led his team down the field to stay ahead and Baltimore ultimately pulled off the win behind Flacco’s play.
Remember what I said about how Flacco “wasn’t worth a huge payday”?
Now he was.
And now – whether you consider him elite or not – he is getting the money of an elite quarterback. Flacco is reportedly going to become the highest paid NFL player… ever. Early reports from Fox Sports and NFL.com’s Adam Schefter are that Flacco’s contract is going to look something like 6-years and valued at $120.6 million.
I’ll let that sink in.
Joe Flacco is now the most valuable quarterback in the league. He’s going to be getting paid more than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady (who recently took a bit of a pay cut), Peyton Manning and previously highest paid, Drew Brees.
Now I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve a big payday. He is only 28-years old and if he plays like he did in the playoffs, is more than qualified for a massive paycheck and the title of “elite”. My only reservation is once again the consistency issue. I know Flacco played like a man possessed on the Ravens Super Bowl run where he beat two of the four quarterbacks I mentioned (Manning and Brady respectively) and did it on the road both times, but the problem with Flacco to this point has been how he plays like a Manning or a Brees one game and then can’t put anything together the following week. Again, if the playoffs this year were in fact the turning point of his career, then he should be considered a top-5 quarterback and is certainly getting paid like one. If the issues of inconsistency arise once again… well… Ravens fans… won’t be really happy.
I guess I just have trouble knowing that Flacco is the most expensive quarterback in the history of the game when there have been so many who have and continue to instill more week to week confidence than Flacco, but I understand that he has deserved it. He is one of seven active quarterbacks to have a Super Bowl ring and he earned that ring in demanding fashion. In the ideal world (as Ravens management), you pay Flacco top-10 money based on his “Flacco-ish” play during the regular season, but what can you do when he plays like the best against the best on the biggest stage?
Now certainly the recently crowned Super Bowl champions can’t complain, but I bet their pockets wish a contract extension was worked out a year ago, before Flacco actually looked elite and deserved his incredibly expensive payday.