Breaking down the early reports on Flacco’s new deal


So, they got it done!

Joe Flacco and the Ravens have hammered out a long term deal to avoid the dreaded Franchise Tag and provide the team with some much needed Salary Cap space for 2013.

At 1:30 this afternoon, Flacco will sign the deal that makes him – for now – the highest paid player in NFL history. The team will hold a celebratory press conference to coronate Flacco as their “elite” cornerstone quarterback.

There is no question the deal is huge and that it had to get done, but, at what future cost to the team?

So far, we know this much – $120.6M total value (although recent reports make it $120.8M), of which $52M is guaranteed, with a $29M Signing Bonus and Option Bonuses of $15M and $7M.  The first year cash is $30M, 2-year payout is $51M and 3-year payout is $62M.

Based on reports from Albert Breer of the NFL Network, Flacco will receive $80.2M through 4 years, and $100.8M through year 5.

If accurate, the following would be Flacco’s Cap numbers:

Also, according to Breer, of the $52M in guaranteed money, only $30M (2013 Signing Bonus and Base Salary) is fully guaranteed.  The rest (the two Option Bonuses) is guaranteed against “injury only” meaning that, prior to paying those Bonuses, the team could release Flacco for any reason, other than injury, and not have to pay those amounts.  That said, on a deal this size, there’s no way the team is going to release Flacco in those early years because the acceleration of that Signing Bonus would be a Cap-killer.

The deal is very Cap-friendly in the early years, but is basically structured so that they will likely have to negotiate a restructure and extension in 2016, the 4th year of the deal.  It’s highly unlikely that the team will keep him on the books at a close to $29M Cap number in 2016.

So, is it a good deal?

Only time will tell.  After all, there is a huge amount of risk at play when you are talking about a contract this size.  Flacco had a lot of leverage and the team is banking on him playing like the true “elite” quarterback he was during the team’s Super Bowl run.  If he was under pressure to perform well enough to earn this type of deal, the pressure is now likely even greater to justify that he deserves it.

One major caution though – if the reports so far are accurate, it appears that the Ravens, in return for some very low Cap numbers in the first three years of the deal, have handed Flacco a huge amount of leverage in 2016.

If the Ravens and Flacco are unable to reach an agreement on an extension to reduce that 2016 Cap number, the team would either be forced to keep him at that $28.75M Cap number or release him and eat $25.85M in “dead money” against the Cap.  Needless to say, neither is a very appealing option and will give Flacco a huge upper hand at that time.

For the Ravens, they can only hope that his play lives up to the deal and makes the decision on an extension much easier to make, when the time comes.

11 Raves on “Breaking down the early reports on Flacco’s new deal

  1. on said:

    As usual, really detailed, well thought out analysis. The other question is reports that the cap will go up in 2016 somewhat dramatically due to the NFL’s TV contract and, thus, the ravens have done about as beneficial a deal as possible. Any insight into this angle beyond a almost definite restructure?

  2. Josh on said:

    It’s not unprecedented for teams to eventually restructure large contracts down the road. In the meantime, let’s all enjoy this deal and recognize we can still remain competitive for the next few years.

  3. Lou on said:

    How can the Base Salary + Option + Signing Bonus add up to $120.8M and the cap charges only add up to $107.2M? Please explain…


    • Derek ArnoldDerek Arnold on said:

      Cap charges add up to 120.8.

      ’13: 6.8 M
      ’14: 14.8
      ’15: 14.55
      ’16: 28.75
      ’17: 31.15
      ’18: 24.75

      6.8 + 14.8 + 14.55 + 28.75 + 31.15 + 24.75 = 120.8.

  4. Joe on said:

    The $6.8 million first-year cap figure is the 2013 base salary and 1/5 of the $29 million signing bonus. How come the signing bonus is not prorated over the six-year life of the contract?

    • Nick Blevins on said:

      The CBA prevents bonuses from being prorated over more than 5 years I believe. That’s one reason option/roster bonuses come into play (plus an easier way to cut people).

  5. Christian on said:

    Will the Suggs and Ngata contracts be up by year 4 of Flacco’s deal? That could be a primary reason why the loaded the back end of this contract in terms of what goes against the cap

  6. Bob Steele on said:

    “If the Ravens and Flacco are unable to reach an agreement on an extension to reduce that 2016 Cap number, the team would either be forced to keep him at that $28.75M Cap number or release him and eat $25.85M in dead money against the Cap.”

    I don’t understand where that dead money figure comes from. I always thought the amount of “dead money” was the amount of the bonus money that hadn’t been paid out of the contract. At 2016, there is no bonus money left.

  7. Jerry on said:

    The “dead money” is the difference between what Joe Flacco was paid in 2013, 2014 & 2015 ($62 million) and the amount that was charged against the cap ($36.15 million).

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