Monday, February 4, 2013
The value of Flacco's next deal
By Tim Kavanagh
Sometimes in sports, a player will up his performance in the final season of his contract (the "contract year," in the parlance of our times), resulting in increased leverage if the team paying him believes that there's more where that came from. In leading the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl victory with a strong postseason, Joe Flacco may have just submitted the ultimate "contract year" performance that we've seen in recent memory.
So what is Flacco worth to the Ravens going forward? He just turned 28 in January, so he has several more seasons of peak play left. This past offseason, 33-year-old Drew Brees signed a five-year, $100 million contract with $60 million of it guaranteed. In the opinion of ESPN.com's Ashley Fox, Flacco is certainly worth an investment of that proportion:
"What's the difference between $18 million and $19 million and $20 million per year now? Joe Flacco is a Super Bowl champion. He is the game's most valuable player. He is the reason why the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31, on Sunday night and why owner Steve Bisciotti hoisted his first Lombardi Trophy as majority owner. The Ravens were Super Bowl champions in 2000 because of a dominating defense that carried an average quarterback who was asked to manage a game. The Ravens are Super Bowl champions now because Flacco took ownership of the offense and insisted it carry a team that had an aging, if still relatively effective, defense."
As we knew heading into this offseason for Baltimore, this is the story of their next several weeks. Get something done soon and the good feelings will continue. Drag this out and it will be a distraction, when the team should be basking in the glow of a Super Bowl victory. For more on why Flacco deserves a contract on par with the other big-time QBs, here's ESPN Insider's Chris Sprow:
Chris SprowFlacco's floor is very high
"On a bad roster, Flacco would be worth less. But for a franchise with a consistent track record of good coaching, very good scouting, roster development and smart drafting, he's actually worth more. Baltimore gains the peace of mind of Flacco's sustainable baseline level of performance. The Ravens can, after the past two seasons and now the worst defense of the Flacco tenure, know for certain that Super Bowls are a reasonable goal if the roster is in good shape elsewhere. And Flacco simply doesn't get hurt -- he hasn't missed an NFL game -- further minimizing the risk on his return. The opportunity cost of a truly bad QB on a good team is so significant that it's not worth the economic risk of letting a pretty good one leave. Flacco might be the NFL's version of a No. 2 starter, but he's about to play in a Super Bowl with maybe the worst Baltimore team he's been on. Debate his elite status all you want. He delivers a level of certainty worth a major investment."