With reports circulating that Patriots QB Tom Brady has agreed to a contract extension that will lower his 2013 Cap number, the big question for Ravens fans is what impact this development will have on the negotiations between Joe Flacco and the team?
As far as negotiations on a long term deal go, the answer is – probably very little. The differences between Flacco’s situation – 28 years old and pending free agent – and Brady’s – 36 years old this summer – make it such that it’s hard to really find a correlation between the two QBs. Brady has already made the bulk of his money (not that this new deal with $60M guaranteed is anything to sneeze about), while Flacco is entering his prime and is about to earn his first mega-contract (after earning only $24M over his first five years – i.e. less than $5M per season).
The argument that Brady “took less” won’t likely impact Flacco or his agent, Joe Linta either, especially when you consider that Brady is getting $60M guaranteed at age 36. In fact, the only way anyone could argue that Brady actually took less is to point at his low base salaries in years 3-5 of the extension. But, basically, what Brady has done is to take less in those years, in return for having those years guaranteed. Brady likely could have pushed for high base salaries, but that may have essentially forced his release in those later years. So, by “taking less”, he’s now guaranteed to make that money (unless he voluntarily retires, of course).
Brady’s new deal does have one a measurable impact on Flacco situation, though.
The Exclusive Franchise tender amount that would apply to Flacco if the Ravens decide to use that designation is now less based on Brady no longer having a top 5 Cap number. With Brady’s (former) Cap number of $21.55M (tops in the league) now being removed from the Top 5 calculation, the Exclusive Tag tender amount is reduced by almost $900K.
The present top 5 now are:
- Matthew Stafford – $20.82M
- Eli Manning – $20.35M
- Peyton Manning – $20M
- Ben Roethlisberger – $19.595M
- Drew Brees – $17.14M
Based on the above, the present Exclusive Tag number will be $19.583M (down from the prior number of $20.463M when Brady was included).
While not a lot, the Ravens will likely take every little bit they can.
It is also possible that the tender amount could go down further if Stafford, Eli Manning and/or Roethlisberger also restructure, but in order for it to impact Flacco’s Exclusive tender amount, any restructure must occur by either the Franchise Tag deadline of March 4th or whenever the Ravens officially designate Joe with the Tag – whichever comes first.
For what it’s worth, the present 6th highest QB Cap number is Phil Rivers at $17.11M, so if any one of the aforementioned three QB’s restructure before then, the Exclusive Tag would fall between $19.084M and $18.839M. Obviously, if two restructure it will go down even further, but that’s probably too much wishful thinking, especially with only a week to go before the March 4th deadline.