Heading into the 2012 season, many wondered how Joe Flacco would deal with his unsettled contract situation. What if he struggled during preseason? Might the weight of the predictable barrage of questioning relating to his extension force him into a downward spiral?
Such questioning did unfold during post practice pressers early on in training camp. But in an unexpected way Flacco diffused the questioning with his carefree style and his belief in the ability of the team and his agent Joe Linta to get a deal done. Flacco’s words suggested that he knows he’ll be in Baltimore for a long time and that a new deal isn’t a question of “if” but rather one of “when.”
Yet here we are on August 29, 2012 and the “when” question remains.
Besides his drama-free approach to the ongoing behind-the-scenes negotiations, Flacco’s play throughout camp and during the preseason has also helped to keep the financial chatter at bay. Based on what we’ve seen so far this summer, Flacco and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron finally seem to be on the same page.
Moreover QB coach Jim Caldwell has apparently made an impression upon the Ravens signal caller. Flacco has made strides in the use of cadence, ball handling, pocket presence and the other finer nuances of playing the position that the game’s best have mastered.
The season is setting up nicely.
But what about that contract?
Why isn’t there a new deal?
Back in 2009 two other big name starting quarterback started the summer playing in the last year of their five-year rookie deals – Philip Rivers and Eli Manning. Manning signed his six-year extension on August 14 of that year ($97M, $35M guaranteed) while Rivers signed his on August 24 ($92M, $38M guaranteed).
Earlier this summer the Saints’ Drew Brees signed a deal for 5 years, $100 Million that included an NFL-record $60 million in guaranteed money. The argument could be made that Brees is better than both Rivers and Manning and you can count me among those who would concur. The point here is that in 3 seasons you can see the northerly direction of QB compensation.
So why the wait?
Waiting will do one of two things: 1) Force Flacco’s price even higher if things go well; or 2) Things don’t go well at the beginning and those predictable and nagging contract questions start to rear their ugly heads.
Neither scenario is ideal.
Besides, even if Flacco does struggle early in 2012, it won’t be enough to materially change his asking price.
DO THE DEAL – 7 years, $90M with escalators to take it to $105M, $40M guaranteed.
And they all lived happily ever after…