In an off-season where the defending Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens, have plenty of pending free agents to sign new contracts for in hopes of keeping the core of their roster together, who will already lose Ray Lewis to retirement, things took a rather dramatic turn when Joe Flacco’s agent Joe Linta was quoted in the following statement:
“Somebody said, ‘Should Joe be the highest-paid quarterback in the game?’ I said, ‘Yes,’ ” Flacco’s agent, Joe Linta, told The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday night in a telephone interview. “I’m not going to be apologetic for him. He’s shown he’s a big-time guy in terms of contract versus other guys. He’s a lot younger than them, too. He’s hitting his prime.
And who exactly is currently the top paid QB in the NFL? One Drew Brees, who’s earning at least $20 million dollars per year in his gigantic, yet well deserved contract signed last off-season. Now let that set in for a minute; Joe Flacco, NFL’s top paid QB? That, in all honesty, makes absolutely no sense. Yes, he just won Super Bowl MVP, and he did throw an amazing 11 TDs, compared to 0 ints the entire post-season, but as you’re about to read, 1 Super Bowl title doesn’t mean you deserve to be paid more than QBs who have accomplished far more than he has in his career.
So let’s begin the argument by comparing him with the 1st player I named, Drew Brees. Not only has Drew Brees won Super Bowl MVP himself back in Super Bowl 44, but he’s also set, then broke his own passing records, passed for over 5,000 yards 3 times in his career, won NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and has led the Saints to being one of the top offenses in the entire NFL. Has Joe Flacco ever come close to accomplishing half of those performences? I think not. Just last season, Joe Flacco managed to pass for 3,817 yards, 22 TDs, and 10 ints. That first number, his yards, is the highest in his 5 year career. The second number listed, is his second highest total in his 5 year career (25 in 2010). The third and final number, is good enough to tie his personal best set in 2010. Not once in his career, has he passed for over 3,900 yards, let alone 4,ooo yards. Drew Brees, on the other hand, has passed for over 4,000 yards in all of his years with the New Orleans Saints, making it 7 straight after last season, and he’s gone for over 5,000 yards 3 times in the past 5 years, as he became the 1st NFL player to go over 5,ooo yards at 3 different times in one career, and also became the first ever NFL player to go over 5,00o yards in back-to-back seasons. So let me get this straight, Joe Flacco deserves to get paid, more than this guy? Drew Brees? I sure hope not.
“Well what about being paid more than the other guys?” What about the other guys? Peyton Manning signed a 5 year, $96 million deal last off-season himself, and he’s a future HOF who’s also won Super Bowl MVP (Super Bowl 41), and has been named NFL MVP 4 times in his well documented career. “How about more than Tom Brady?” He’s won 3 Super Bowls, and took his team to the perfect season in 2007 (16-0), while leading his team to an additional pair of Super Bowl appearances (Super Bowls 42&46). “Well, Eli Manning?” He won his 1st Super Bowl MVP in his 3rd season as the team’s starting QB. “Ben Roethlisberger?” He’s won a pair of Super Bowls, and became the youngest QB to ever win a Super Bowl following their victory over the Seahawks in 2005 (Super Bowl 40). “He has to be paid more than Michael Vick.” Now this is up for debate, as Michael Vick was a beast in the past, but he’s not as good of a passer that Joe Flacco happens to be. Then again, there are a lot of QBs who are better than Michael Vick. And, Michael Vick got his big money contract after composing what looked like a true comeback story.
Which leads me to the concern Michael Vick, and a ton of other NFL players, have presented over the history of the NFL: the “busted” contract. Michael Vick was rewarded handsomely after winning the NFC East in 2010 as he finally played like the complete QB we all knew he was capable of reaching, but after that, he’s written a rather sad and dark tale title “Overpaid Quarterback”. And, it’s not just QBs. Anyone still remember Albert Haynesworth getting serious cash with the Washington Redskins some time ago? Oh, good times. There are just too many cases where players have produced one magical season, only to fall apart completely due to a variety of reasons. Before you go and say “but Eli Manning got paid immediately after his 1st Super Bowl!” no, no he didn’t. He received his then top contract in 2009, 2 years after his miraculous throw to win Super Bowl 42 against the (almost) undefeated New England Patriots, and after coming off his 1st career 4,000 yard season. Sounds like there’s a ton of competition stacked against Joe Flacco in regards of being the top paid QB in the NFL, besides, can the Ravens really afford to pay him like the top QB in the NFL?
With that, comes my final point, the Baltimore Ravens’ current situation. Like what I mentioned earlier, the Ravens come into free agency needing to re-sign a lot of their best players to new contracts, including OLB Paul Kreuger, veteran Safety Ed Reed, and young star TE Dennis Pitta (RFA). Also mentioned previously, was the news Ray Lewis will be retiring as he rides off into the sunset with his second Super Bowl ring, to put a storybook ending on a legendary career. Needless to say, the Ravens will be searching for a new ILB to fill the void presented by this move. I currently don’t have a doctorate in any mathematical degree, but that definitely sounds like the Ravens will already have a tough time trying to squeeze whatever cap space they have available in order to keep this team together in any hopes of repeating as champions. I seriously doubt they have an extra $20+ million in cap space to hand over to Joe Flacco in his new contract. Regardless of what happens, either by franchise tag or by new contract, it’s safe to say Joe Flacco nor his agent will be seeing those gigantic “$$$” anytime soon, especially since the Ravens are already pinned hard against the cap space.
For all that is good in Baltimore, I sincerely hope Joe Flacco doesn’t receive this rather unlikely Drew Brees’esque contract; they will be paying for it (literally) for a very long time.