Assending Qb's in their mid 20's with a handful of good to great years of film don't EVER pop up in Free Agency, there would be a feeding frenzy over the guy. In this unlikely scenario, he is possibly the best QB under 30 that has EVER been a free agent. Drew brees was both a BUST for 3 years and had a MAJOR shoulder injury when he was last a Free agent. Peyton is almost 40....
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Before you claim that you don't see a huge demand for Flacco, let's look at the teams who could reasonably be looking at Joe as an upgrade to their QB spot next year.
Browns (Depending on how they draft this year)
AFC Possibles depending on some reasonably probable scenarios:
Broncos (If Manning is as beat up as many of us believe, his deal is designed to be very easy to terminate after year 1 if his neck can't hold up.)
Bills (Assuming they can dump Fitzpatrick's ludicrous deal.)
Jets (Sanchez is garbage and Tebow is exciting garbage, if Rex is ousted a new coach would be in the market for a new QB.)
NFC possibles depending on circumstance:
Saints ( If they can't keep Brees without tagging twice, they may consider kicking the tires on a much cheaper Flacco.)
Eagles (Depending on Mike Vick's performance this year, does he rebound or continue to flounder while missing significant time.)
Cowboys (Romo has numbers but no one in that team has any faith in him.)
Bucs: (Depends on how Freeman rebounds from a bad sophomore season.)
So that's 15 teams who stand varying degrees of chance of viewing Joe as a upgrade. Not to mention the handful of teams with recently drafted rookies or who are expected to draft rookies this year who may start next year with new coaching staffs compared to this year. Also us.
I think it's safe to say there would be a feeding frenzy.
Where in the league would Flacco be a clear and undisputable upgrade at the QB position to the current starter? Off the cuff, I can only think of Arizona, Cleveland, Jacksonville, KC, Miami, Minnesota, Seattle, and St. Louis. You could throw Indy and Washington in there, but since they've got de facto new starters come April 26, I left them off. That represents only 25% of the league, and I don't see any of those teams lining up to pay Flacco substantially more than what the Ravens would.
I'm not anti-Flacco... I'm just not yet convinced that he's worth what he's asking for. You could make a really good argument that, based on last year, Alex Smith's deal could be analogous to what Flacco should get. Both men play on teams that win by great defense more than great offense, and frankly, Smith's stats and win totals from last year compare favorably with Flacco's. You could make an argument that the Ravens faced stiffer competition, but their respective seasons still ended at the same place. I think there would be about as much interest in Flacco the UFA as there was in Alex Smith the UFA here a couple of weeks ago... Smith wound up slinking home from Miami and signing the dotted line.
Besides, there doesn't have to be a frenzy. All it takes is one desperate team to drive the price up.
Back to my original question, lets say they get a deal done this year. Will it affect his cap number this year or will he still be playing under his rookie deal and his new contract take affect in 2013? Also, I believe he gets signed over the summer sometime. There will be cuts next year just like 2 years ago to free up space and most likely the cap will be higher also, Reed's cap number will be less if we re sign him as will rice's if we re sign him. Look we just signed webb, lets give oz some time before we panic over the Flacco deal. It will get done, teams do not let franchise QBs go. I would not be surprised though if the Ravens have him play out his contract. Look Matt Ryan has not been signed yet and if he gets signed first that would be the deal Flacco would most likely get depending on if the Falcons over pay him.
Flacco would be an upgrade to a lot of teams. Say he is the #13 starter, he would be an upgrade for 19 teams. But the important thing is he wouldn't be a fit for most of those teams. Lots of teams will want to draft and develop a guy or roll the dice on a hot backup like Hoyer. Teams are only going to pay top dollar if they see Flacco as the missing piece for a playoff/Super Bowl run. I think Alex Smith is a good comparable (though Flacco is clearly better than Smith). Teams would rather have someone unproven with potential than someone's who's demonstrated to be above average but not absolute tops.
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