ABERDEEN – Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco doesn’t think he should have to wait another year to be granted a long-term contract extension, and he’s disappointed about the organization’s stance to not launch negotiations until after next season.
Flacco is entering the fourth year of a five-year contract with a maximum value of $30 million that includes $4.585 million and $4.61 million base salaries over the final two years of the deal.
During the NFL scouting combine in late February, the Ravens reiterated to Flacco’s representatives that they wouldn’t address his contract situation until next year.
"I played three years, you would think either you know that you like me or you don’t like me," Flacco said Saturday at Ripken Stadium during teammate Haruki Nakamura’s Red Cross relief event to benefit Japan. "I think if you like me you would know. Hey, if it’s not the way they do things, it’s not the way they do things. We’ll see what happens a year from now.
"I would much prefer that we get something done right now because in a year from now I’m going to be thinking, ‘Hey, they already made me play one year without another contract, what’s the harm in playing another year and seeing what happens after that?’"
After three years in the NFL, 48 regular-season starts, seven playoff games, 10,206 career yards, 60 touchdowns and 34 interceptions, Flacco is an experienced quarterback who has never missed a game.
"I know he’s on the list," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said during the annual NFL owners meetings when asked whether the team intends to give Flacco a new deal in the future. "We have talked to Joe and some other guys in that draft class. You know who those guys are. We don’t know what our plans are going to be, but he’s in the conversation. We’ve got a lot of guys in the conversation right now. We got some guys we need to get done."
"We all know it’s a quarterback driven league," team president Dick Cass said. "It’s very difficult to win in this league unless you have an elite quarterback. We have an elite quarterback, we believe. Joe has done an outstanding job so far and his arrow is pointing up. He’s going to continue to improve and so we couldn’t be more pleased with Joe Flacco."
Last season, Flacco registered career-highs for passing yards (3,622), touchdown passes (25), passing yards per attempt (7.41), passer rating (93.6) and threw a career-low 10 interceptions.
Flacco, 26, has gone 32-16 as a starter during the regular season and 4-3 in the postseason and set a franchise playoff record with his 115.4 passer rating during a wild-card victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Flacco emphasized that his goal is to play for the Ravens for a long time, if not the duration of his career.
"Of course it is," Flacco said. "It’s incredible here, it’s great here. I don’t think there’s any question about that this is where I want to be long-term.
"It’s just a matter of doing what’s going to be good in terms of signing that deal and I’d like to do it as soon as possible. If they feel differently, they feel differently. When they eventually do want to do something, I’ll see if that’s something that’s going to benefit me."
Flacco is the second NFL quarterback since 1990 to win a playoff game in each of his first three seasons and is the Ravens’ all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns, completions and attempts. Since the AFL-NFL merger, the only quarterbacks to start a playoff game in each of their first three seasons are Flacco, Bernie Kosar and Dan Marino.
Over the final 14 games last season, Flacco was the second-ranked passer in the league behind Tom Brady with a 103.4 passer rating with 24 touchdowns and only five interceptions as the Ravens went 11-3 during that span. He finished as the seventh-ranked passer in the NFL.
.“We think Joe has the ability to be one of the top quarterbacks in the league, and we’ve got to do what we can do to help him get there,” Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said after last season. “It’s fluid, it’s ongoing, and it’s constant, and his star is rising.
“We have three elite quarterbacks in this league, and everybody knows who they are. Is Joe ever going to be in that conversation? We think so. We hope so. We’re going to work to get him there. We’re not cutting bait with Joe. We have high hopes for him.”
Flacco is resigned to his contract not being addressed until after next season.
"It is what it is," Flacco said. "It’s nothing exciting. You hope to hear something exciting that they want to get something done. I don’t know that they do right now with everything going on.
"We’ll see what happens. You say you want to get something done next year. My attitude toward that is, ‘Well, I hope so.’ That’s all I’ve really thought about that. We’ll see what happens."