Payday came for Joe Flacco, and his new contract will officially make him the highest-paid quarterback to ever step foot on the gridiron. Flacco has been secured as the Ravens’ starting quarterback through 2018.
It was a long and drawn out process, but in the end a deal was worked and Flacco can get back to concentrating on what really matters: Super Bowl XLVIII.
The truth is, Flacco can focus all he wants. What really matters is the front office’s upcoming decisions on which players will stay, and which will test free agency and look for a new home.
“Cap causality” has been the one term during free agency that is a football fan’s worst nightmare, especially after winning a Super Bowl. Let’s face it, most players probably don’t want to leave a defending Super Bowl champion squad. If most had the choice, they would likely want to stay in Charm City. But, unfortunately, things must happen and players are forced to move on — simply because of the organization’s inability to dish out the type of money they’re looking for.
For the Ravens, many players have been linked to being possible victims. Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and Cary Williams have all been hot topics in free agency talks. One player that stands out, however, is fullback Vonta Leach.
Leach, who is still under contract for one more season, could actually end up getting cut by the team. The bulldozing fullback’s salary will be an ultimate cap hit of $4.3 million, a major chunk of change for a team that has been looking towards, and playing as a pass-first, explosive team.
Leach is critical to the running game. I believe that running back Ray Rice would not have had the success he has been having with the Ravens if it weren’t for Leach. With the emergence of Bernard Pierce, Leach is just a building block to continue getting this running game to be one of the NFL’s most formidable. That is a feat that can be achieved, but only if Leach remains in the backfield.
The Ravens’ running game will not nearly be as effective if Leach gets cut.
If the team decides to go the other way and focus on the pass-first options, then Leach will ultimately be released. The organization could save $4.3 million and use it on wide receiver Anquan Boldin, another potential cap causality.
Time will tell, and it’s up to the front office to determine if the Ravens will have a top-five running game.