Joe Flacco: Predicting the Baltimore Ravens Restructured Deal

Sep 3, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) sits on a bench against the Atlanta Falcons in the third quarter at the Georgia Dome. The Ravens defeated the Falcons 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) sits on a bench against the Atlanta Falcons in the third quarter at the Georgia Dome. The Ravens defeated the Falcons 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens must come to some kind of agreement on a restructured contract, but how much is he really worth?

One big name player in Baltimore just got a massive pay-day. Another got his a few years ago, but is now being asked to restructure that deal just years after getting his big money.

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis received a seven-year, $161 million deal, and will be paid by the O’s for a good chunk of his lifetime. He will be the centerpiece of Baltimore baseball until he receives his last payment from Peter Angelos.

The Baltimore Ravens have already given their top prize, quarterback Joe Flacco, a pretty substantial paycheck. Now the team is asking him to help them out financially.

The Ravens placed themselves in a crisis due to many of their veterans’ contracts, but none is more crippling than that of Joe Flacco. This team needs help and coming up with a restructured contract from Flacco would be exactly what the team needs.

Flacco’s cap number will nearly double in 2016, jumping from $14.55 million in 2015 to $28.55 million next season. The 2016 total would be the third-highest in the NFL behind New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees and Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. As much as we love Joe in Baltimore, we all know he is not worth that kind of money. 

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What is great for the Ravens is Flacco realizes that as well. He knows that his contract has been the focus of much discussion since he signed that deal after winning the Ravens’ second Super Bowl. Flacco was on WBAL Radio Thursday morning and said that he knows the Ravens cannot operate with his current contract and will work with the team to give them some cap flexibility.

“Come on, I want to win, so I want to do everything we can to get something done. I don’t know exactly what that is or exactly what that’s going to be because we haven’t talked about it yet. But I know that that’s a huge number and it’s not really realistic.”

He also knows it impacts other players and it’s up to him to make things work for the betterment of the team.

“In this league, everyone is going to have a quarterback or somebody on their team that is getting paid this kind of money, and it’s going to become an issue at some point and they’re going to have to do something about it.”

If you are Ozzie Newsome, this is exactly what you want to hear. Far too often players refuse to restructure or take a pay cut. It was less than a year ago that Haloti Ngata would not redo his deal and ultimately was sent to the Detroit Lions. In this case, the two sides are 100 percent committed to coming to an agreement that will work for everyone involved.

Now let’s get into some of the specifics of a new contract. While his cap value is at $28.55, Flacco is due a base salary of $18 million. That $18 million is money he is going to get regardless. He is not taking a pay cut and the team is not expecting that either. What the Ravens can do is adjust some of his bonus so that they can get his cap figure down to that $18 million mark also.

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Flacco is schedule to get a signing bonus of $5.8 million and an option bonus of $4.75 million. That’s why his cap number is so large. What the Ravens will ask from Flacco is to basically accept a new contract that will give him that money up front or dispersed more evenly throughout the life of the new deal. The Ravens are hopeful that by coming to an agreement that the team can free up somewhere between $5-9 million.

The restructuring benefits Flacco also. He will likely get a few more years which gives him security that he is staying in Baltimore for the long haul. It also will allow the Ravens to make some much-needed deals with other players. Kelechi Osemele and Justin Tucker are the two biggest free agents for the Ravens, and freeing up some more cap space could keep both in the fold next season. After a 5-11 season, that money can also be spent to bring in potential free agents to make this team better as they need a lot of parts to get back to their winning ways.

Expect the new deal to have a new 2016 cap value of somewhere around $20 million. That figure would keep just below many of the top quarterbacks, but above the likes of Alex Smith, Jay Cutler and Colin Kaepernick.

Flacco’s willingness to get this done will be significant for the Ravens moving forward. The Ravens have a lot of work to do this offseason, but none might be more important than getting some financial flexibility. Once they get Flacco’s situation figured out, they can turn their attention to keeping Osemele and Tucker.

It is a bit unusual to be talking about the Ravens’ contracts and free agents with the NFL playoffs still in full swing, but that’s how this disappointing year of Baltimore sports has turned out to be. Getting this situation taken care of is the first part of a longer offseason for Ravens fans.