One of the many interesting subplots to the Super Bowl – and one that actually has a real effect on either franchise – is Joe Flacco’s contract status.
Any debate of whether Flacco, whose contract is up at the end of the season, will get paid by the Ravens is over. If Baltimore were to let Flacco test the market after he led them to a Super Bowl and played so well through the playoffs, it would be unprecedented. In short, it’s just not happening.
But that doesn’t mean Flacco will be handed a blank check after the Super Bowl. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said Flacco’s playoff performance won’t have an effect on negotiations, according to his comments to the Baltimore Sun.
The Sun said it sounded like Newsome had his mind made up on Flacco’s offer before the playoffs started:
“As I said before, Joe and I are at the same comfort level about his contract,” Newsome said to the Sun. “At the end of the day, some people will look at what he does on Sunday afternoon, but I have an entire body of work to look at.
“Joe sits right behind me on the plane rides home. I also know how he practices, how he works out during the offseason. I look to see how he interacts with players, how he reacts to losing, what type of leader he is. Again, it’s the entire body of work over five years.”
That can be interpreted as Newsome believing Flacco was a top quarterback even before the playoffs started and planning to pay him well. Or, he doesn’t plan to change his stance based on the increased leverage Flacco has certainly gained during the playoffs. The two sides have reportedly not had serious talks since August. But the playoffs will have an effect on Flacco’s price tag, there’s really no way around that. Agent Joe Linta already told the Sun before the AFC title game against New England that Flacco was “a top-five, elite quarterback, and he’s proving it,” and he’s unlikely to back off that stance after Flacco helped the Ravens beat the Patriots.
Giving Flacco the franchise tag seems to be a logical conclusion, but that wouldn’t be cheap and would tie up a lot of salary-cap space for the Ravens. Newsome says Super Bowl Sunday won’t affect the Ravens’ negotiations with him, and we’ll see this offseason exactly what that means.