Tag Archive | "joe linta"

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Flacco’s younger brother reportedly declares for NFL Draft

Posted on 08 January 2014 by WNST Staff

Former Orioles farmhand and New Haven tight end Mike Flacco will apparently attempt to join his older brother in the NFL.

Per multiple reports, the 26-year-old has declared early for the NFL draft after completing his sophomore season of Division II college football. He hadn’t played football since high school and was named a third-team Division II All-American after catching 30 passes for 591 yards and nine touchdowns.

A 31st-round selection by the Orioles in 2009, Flacco retired from professional baseball last year and enrolled at New Haven to play college football. He will be represented by agent Joe Linta, who aided Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in signing a six-year, $120.6 million contract last winter.

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NFL = Numbers Frequently Lie

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NFL = Numbers Frequently Lie

Posted on 04 March 2013 by Thyrl Nelson

The NFL loves to lie to you.

 

They do it because they can. They do it to overshadow their inherent greed. And mostly, they do it because you continue to eat it up.

Joe Flacco is set to finalize a 6-year, $120.6 million contract with the Ravens this week, and we’re all still awaiting the details. There are however, a couple of details that we ought to know better than to accept at this point. The first is that the deal won’t be for 6-years, nor $120.6 million. Another is that when the “details” are announced the number that they throw out as “guaranteed” will be anything but guaranteed.

 

The NFL is a greedy league; there’s no way around that. They’re the same league that flaunted their $9+ billion revenue pie in our faces one year while negotiating their labor agreement and then locked out their referees over a tiny fraction of that money as they tried to break the officials union the next year.

 

In comparison to the NBA or Major League Baseball, there is no comparison. As the NFL reigns supreme in popularity and profitability they pay their players far less than their contemporaries and then fail to “guarantee” anything beyond a signing bonus. The league that chews up and spits out its talent quicker than any other is also shameless in its willingness to do so while sharing as little of the owner’s wealth as possible.

 

Shameless however is probably the wrong word. There has to be some shame involved, which is why they insist on lying to you, the consumer. Once a deal is agreed to, once the terms have been finalized between teams and players on contracts, the league that works so hard at spending so little, rushes to press to lie to you about how much money they’ve “committed” and what portion of that they’ve “guaranteed”.

 

And judging from the reaction to Joe Flacco’s contract, they do it because they can. The media has jumped all over the big numbers and the moniker of “highest paid”, the critics have weighed in on how the terms are sure to sink the Ravens yet no one has any idea how much money Joe will actually get…or when.

 

The Ravens did it to Cary Williams last year. They offered Williams a 3-year deal worth $15 million, and when he turned the offer down that information and those numbers mysteriously found their way to the press. To us, that sounds like $5 million per year, but we’ll never really know if it’s true. In NFL terms it could have been (and likely was) something more like $2 million in the first year, $3 million in the second, and $10 million in the third and final year of the deal, with a substantial likelihood that the contract would be terminated or renegotiated before that third year ever kicked in.

 

What we do know, or have heard, about Flacco’s deal is that he’ll have a lower cap number in 2013 than he did in 2012. That however hasn’t stopped folks from judging the contract through the prism of highest paid. It won’t stop the Ravens from selling it as such either as they celebrate their financial “commitment” to the QB who delivered a Super Bowl to Baltimore. And it surely won’t stop Flacco’s agent Joe Linta from using the words “most lucrative deal in NFL history” when trying to attract new clients. All of this despite the fact that we should all know much better by now.

 

We also know the Ravens choices were limited. They could have paid Flacco $20+ million under the exclusive franchise tag and seen every bit of that money reflected in their 2013 cap. They could have paid him $14 million in a non-exclusive franchise tag and allowed another team to negotiate the biggest and most important contract in franchise history on their behalf. Or, they could have let the first franchise QB in team history simply walk, to the highest bidder, with a couple of undetermined draft picks as compensation and prepared themselves to begin the process of grooming a QB all over again.

 

The Ravens made the best of a bad situation (or as bad a situation as you can have immediately after winning a Super Bowl), and for now at least they still appear poised to win.

 

The two sides will likely be back at the table in 2-years or so to move the money around and make the “greedy QB” look like the “Benevolent Bank of Flacco” as he helps the team remain cap solvent while piling money on top of his money. And now the team can sit back and relax as others react to the market that they created. Flacco, we know, will only be the “highest paid” player until the next guy comes up for negotiations. That’s now the Packers and Cowboys and Falcons and 49ers problem to deal with. Maybe that’s why fans have reacted so boisterously to a deal that has no bearing on their own teams, and in their words “will likely sink the Ravens”.

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Timing everything as Flacco becomes highest-paid player in NFL history

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Timing everything as Flacco becomes highest-paid player in NFL history

Posted on 01 March 2013 by Luke Jones

It was the perfect storm of circumstances for Joe Flacco to become the highest-paid player in NFL history, regardless of whether you think the Ravens quarterback is truly deserving of the title.

Believing Flacco isn’t the best quarterback in the league is more than fair, but it didn’t hold any weight at the negotiating table this time around as general manager Ozzie Newsome, owner Steve Bisciotti, and the entire organization were just fitted for their championship rings a few weeks ago. His play over the final four games of the season pushed him into the top tier of quarterbacks and that’s all that’s needed to fetch the richest contract in league history when it’s your turn in line.

That will become evident in the near future when Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers receives his payday that will likely eclipse the Baltimore quarterback’s deal.

Yes, Flacco bet on himself last summer by turning down the Ravens’ best offer — rumored to be a contract in the $16 million-per-year range — and proved everyone wrong by completing arguably the greatest postseason performance in NFL history. With Flacco leading his team to victory in Super Bowl XLVII, arguments over whether he was elite or where he ultimately ranked in the hierarchy of NFL quarterbacks became irrelevant.

The sight of Flacco raising the Vince Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl MVP in New Orleans was all that was needed to predict what will become official on Monday when he signs a six-year, $120.6 million. Timing is everything when it comes to contract negotiations, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better example of a professional athlete seizing the opportunity.

Flacco, his agent Joe Linta, and the Ravens all knew there was no other outcome after the 28-year-old was at his best on the biggest stage possible.

Even if they paid more than they would have liked in a perfect world, the Ravens knew there was no way they could let their franchise quarterback go after he did exactly what they asked of him by throwing 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in four postseason games, topping two of the greatest quarterbacks in league history along the way. Their salary-cap restrictions prohibited them from trying to play hardball as the use of the pricy franchise tag would have meant virtually no chance for the Ravens to make any other moves of significant note this offseason, in terms of re-signing their other unrestricted free agents or pursuing other talent on the open market.

The choice was simple: sign their franchise quarterback to a long-term deal now — even if it meant overpaying in some critics’ minds — or lose a number of other players and risk alienating Flacco and his representation further by using the franchise tag. And even though there was no tangible fear of losing their quarterback, the Ravens’ memory of lackluster play from the likes of Kyle Boller, Anthony Wright, Chris Redman, and virtually every other quarterback in town prior to 2008 was enough to provide a final nudge if necessary.

It wasn’t a choice at all, really, and that’s why critics arguing that Flacco’s new-found fortune is too much are wasting their breath. Negotiations don’t take place in a vacuum as Flacco’s side had all the leverage in the world. Taking a stand is a lot easier when you’re standing on the sideline, and Newsome and the Ravens had no such luxury.

The year-by-year breakdown of the deal has yet to be revealed, but the Ravens are likely to receive some relief for 2013 in comparison to the cap figure Flacco would have carried if slapped with the franchise tag. As any team paying a top quarterback will tell you, the Ravens hope the league’s new television deal will inflate the salary cap substantially starting in 2015 to ease the pain of what will be some gigantic cap numbers over the next few years.

But none of that talk can dampen the satisfaction of knowing the Ravens have their man locked up for the next six years.

The pressure will now be on Flacco to live up to the terms of his record-breaking deal. Observers will expect more performances like he showed in the postseason instead of the modest 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions he threw during the regular season.

The cost of business clearly went up in terms of the quarterback’s compensation, so the expectations will justifiably rise as well.

And that’s a compliment to Flacco as he enters the prime of his career with a full offseason to work with offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, whose December promotion paid dividends for the Baltimore offense. Higher expectations will be there because Flacco showed he was fully capable of playing at that elite level against the best competition the NFL had to offer.

Flacco reached the pinnacle for the first time in his career last month and now he will be asked to do it again every year — even if we know that’s not really possible.

It may sound too harsh, but there are 120 million reasons why that’s a reasonable demand.

And knowing the Ravens quarterback, that’s perfectly fine with him.

 

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Flacco, Ravens agree to terms on record-setting contract

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Flacco, Ravens agree to terms on record-setting contract

Posted on 01 March 2013 by Luke Jones

After reaching the pinnacle of his career in being named Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLVII, quarterback Joe Flacco will now break the bank with a long-term contract with the Ravens making him the highest-paid player in NFL history.

As first reported by FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer, the sides have reached an agreement in principle on a long-term deal that will officially be completed on Monday, the last day the Ravens would have been able to designate Flacco with the franchise tag. The quarterback will sign a six-year deal worth $120.6 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The record-setting deal comes after Flacco held more negotiating leverage over the Ravens than any star player in recent memory.

The news of the long-term agreement will alleviate salary cap concerns for the Ravens as a deal is expected to create a more manageable 2013 cap figure for the franchise quarterback than either the exclusive or non-exclusive franchise tag numbers for this season.

Flacco’s agent Joe Linta and Ravens vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty entered contract negotiations in Indianapolis last week for the first time since talks broke down last August with the sides unable to come to an agreement. Talks were described as cordial, but a contract wasn’t considered imminent until the news broke Friday evening. Linta said Friday the Ravens agreed to all their terms, but they will look over the deal before Flacco signs it on Monday.

Though it doesn’t qualify as an official statement, the Ravens’ Twitter account announced that general manager Ozzie Newsome has confirmed that the parameters of the contract are in place with some details and language that will need to be finalized.

After passing on the Ravens’ best offer last summer, Flacco went on to throw 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in one of the greatest postseason performances in NFL history to lead the Ravens to their second world championship on Feb. 3. The fifth-year quarterback cemented his place as one of the league’s top signal-callers with the remarkable four-game run against Indianapolis, Denver, New England, and San Francisco.

Playing in his first Super Bowl, Flacco went 22-for-33 for 287 yards and three touchdowns in the 34-31 victory over the 49ers. The 28-year-old threw for 22 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and 3,817 yards in the regular season.

Several teammates used Twitter to offer their congratulations on Friday evening as the Ravens now know their franchise quarterback will remain in Baltimore for years to come.

“Dinner and a few nights on Joe Flacco when we get back,” wrote Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice, who added that the new contract was “well deserved.”

In his five-year career, the 2008 first-round pick has passed for 17,633 yards, 102 touchdowns, and 56 interceptions for a career passer rating of 86.3.

The Ravens are expected to turn their attention immediately toward their other unrestricted free agents and the rest of the offseason as securing the quarterback long-term was their paramount objective before anything else. General manager Ozzie Newsome now has the opportunity to use the franchise tag on another player, but the executive said at last month’s end-of-year press conference that the organization would not tag anyone else should they reach a new contract with Flacco.

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Clock ticking, exclusive tag price falling (a little) for Flacco and Ravens

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Clock ticking, exclusive tag price falling (a little) for Flacco and Ravens

Posted on 28 February 2013 by Luke Jones

As the clock ticks for the Ravens to strike a long-term agreement with quarterback Joe Flacco ahead of Monday’s deadline to use the franchise tag, there have been no indications that the sides have engaged in contract talks since the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Flacco’s agent Joe Linta and Ravens vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty entered contract discussions last weekend for the first time since last August, but there was no report of a deal being imminent. Of course, this doesn’t mean that progress hasn’t been made and it’s not surprising the sides are without an agreement as the March 4 deadline for designating a player with the franchise tag is now only days away.

Deadlines provide a greater sense of urgency to get deals done as we’ve seen in recent years when long-term agreements were struck with running back Ray Rice, linebacker Terrell Suggs, and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata with only hours — or even minutes — to spare in each case.

Linta has stood firm in his quest to make Flacco the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL and league insiders such as ESPN’s Adam Schefter have said a potential deal will exceed New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ five-year, $100 million contract that included $60 million guaranteed over the first three years of the deal. As has been said countless times since Super Bowl XLVII, you’d be hard-pressed to find a recent example of a player having this much leverage over a team strapped for salary-cap room and knowing they will need to fork over big bucks to a quarterback who just completed one of the greatest postseason performances in league history.

The question isn’t whether Flacco really deserves to make more than any other quarterback in football but rather do you want to keep him in Baltimore for the long haul.

The Ravens did receive some good news this week in terms of the exclusive franchise tag with New England quarterback Tom Brady and Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reworking their current deals to lower their cap figures for the 2013 season. While neither is expected to impact the long-term negotiations between Flacco and the Ravens, the lower cap numbers for both Brady and Roethlisberger have taken them out of the league’s top 5 quarterback cap listings, which are averaged to determine the tender amount for the exclusive franchise tag.

As a result, the exclusive tag has been lowered from just under $20.5 million to a reported $19.13 million, making the use of the pricier option that takes Flacco off the free-agent market completely a bit more appealing. The non-exclusive tag is expected to cost $14.6 million for a quarterback, but it would allow another team to sign Flacco to an offer sheet and potentially surrender two first-round picks to the Ravens if they were unable to match the deal.

The lower number might do more to entice the Ravens to use the exclusive tag, but it requires an extra $4.5 million of cap room that the team already doesn’t have. In deciding between using the non-exclusive tag and the exclusive one, it could be the difference between keeping wide receiver Anquan Boldin and needing to make the painful decision to release him to clear an additional $6 million in cap space. The exclusive number also creates a natural springboard for Linta to use for negotiating by reminding the Ravens they already view Flacco as a $19.13 million-per-year player at worst in using the exclusive tag.

However, the cheaper non-exclusive tag would also result in sleepless nights for general manager Ozzie Newsome over the thought — as highly unlikely as it might be — of a team with a dramatic cap surplus like the Cleveland Browns swooping in and signing Flacco to a front-loaded offer sheet with an absurd cap number for 2013 that would either prohibit the Ravens from matching or force them to cut even more players to match the offer.

Regardless of where you fall on the decision of which tag the Ravens should use — and opinions are split around the league — it’s apparent how urgent this situation is for the Ravens as they’ve engaged in virtually no discussion with other free agents because they don’t have a clear picture of what their salary-cap picture will be at this point. Baltimore has been in contact with the agent for inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe — considered the second-biggest priority among their unrestricted free agents — but even keeping him would be extremely difficult if Flacco is to carry either tag number.

Ellerbe, left tackle Bryant McKinnie, safety Ed Reed, and any other free agent — with the team or not — remain little more than an afterthought at this point in time.

We’ll begin to receive more clarity by 4 p.m. on Monday, the last day teams may designate a player with the franchise tag, but it won’t mean negotiations will automatically break off should the Ravens announce they are tagging their quarterback. The significant time for the Ravens and Flacco to have a long-term contract in place by falls on March 12 at 4 p.m. for the start of the new league year — and the opening of free agency — when teams must be in compliance with the salary cap.

But in those final days leading up to the start of free agency, the ax could fall on a few of Flacco’s teammates as the Ravens wouldn’t be able to assume a long-term deal will happen in time to quell their cap concerns.

The clock is ticking as the Ravens and Flacco approach the first tangible deadline of the offseason and their negotiations.

As I wrote right after the Super Bowl, the real question is when — not as much if or how — the deal gets done.

And the Ravens are in a holding pattern with the rest of their offseason until it does.

 

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Business about to pick up as Ravens brass travels to NFL scouting combine

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Business about to pick up as Ravens brass travels to NFL scouting combine

Posted on 20 February 2013 by Luke Jones

After only a couple weeks to set offseason priorities and plans following their win in Super Bowl XLVII, the Ravens realize business is about to pick up as the shapers of the organization travel to Indianapolis for the NFL’s scouting combine.

Most teams will be focused primarily on scouting the incoming rookie class ahead of April’s draft and holding informal discussions — don’t dare call these talks tampering, however — with the agents of soon-to-be free agents, but the Ravens hold the clearest and most important task of any team in Indianapolis. General manager Ozzie Newsome and vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty are set to meet with quarterback Joe Flacco’s agent for their first contract negotiations since last August. Joe Linta has expressed a desire for his client to become the highest-paid quarterback in the league and is reportedly seeking upwards of $20 million per season.

As unlikely as it is that the sides come to an agreement on a long-term contract this weekend in Indianapolis, it will be important to see progress made from the point where talks broke down prior to last season. The first real deadline on which to be focused is March 4, the last day the Ravens are allowed to place the franchise tag on Flacco for the 2013 season. Should the Ravens be forced to use the $14.6 non-exclusive tag or the exclusive one estimated to cost $20 million or more for a one-year tender, they will be faced with making a number of roster cuts to be in compliance with the salary cap by the start of the new league year on March 12.

While Flacco’s side is likely willing to be creative in structuring a deal to quell cap concerns for the 2013 season, Linta made it clear a couple weeks ago that it’s not his client’s obligation to take a hometown discount to bail the Ravens out of trouble.

“There are a lot of teams in the same boat; the Ravens aren’t the only ones with cap problems,” Linta said on AM 1570 WNST.net earlier this month. “Whether it’s Joe or any of the other free agents who are upcoming, they have to figure out how to do it. Every time you’re a cap manager like Ozzie and Pat are, you have to come up with a puzzle that works for you.”

As Moriarty’s focus will largely be on making substantial strides in order to lock up the Super Bowl MVP for the long haul, the rest of the organization will be consumed with 40-yard dash times, bench-press reps, medical exams, and interviews with countless draft prospects. And considering their tenuous cap position and how it will hinder their ability to be overly active in free agency, the Ravens will depend on April’s draft as much as ever to replenish the voids left by departing members of their Super Bowl championship team.

Te’o talk

No draft prospect will be under more scrutiny in the coming days than Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, who claimed to be the victim of an online hoax that’s drawn an overwhelming amount of attention for the better part of a month. He will be peppered with questions about the story of his nonexistent girlfriend and must test well to put himself back in position to be a top-15 pick.

It’s no secret that the Ravens will be looking at the inside linebacker position due to the retirement of future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis, the uncertain status of free-agent linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, and the health of Jameel McClain after he suffered a spinal cord contusion in December. Te’o has been deemed a logical fit by many draft analysts who have linked him to the Ravens at the 32nd overall pick in mock drafts. It is believed that the Ravens are impressed with the 255-pound linebacker’s ability despite his poor showing in the BCS national championship game against Alabama last month.

As is the case with any player dealing with off-field issues, it’s critical for teams to draw a definitive assessment of his ability on the field before even contemplating taking the time and resources to investigate whether they can tolerate the baggage that will accompany Te’o. His is an unprecedented case as issues of trust and whether the young linebacker will be resilient enough to deal with the intense scrutiny in the months and years to come must be strongly considered.

If the Ravens are convinced the Heisman Trophy runner-up is fast enough to go sideline to sideline — his 40 time will be a major point of interest for teams — and strong enough to take on offensive linemen in the NFL, they will do their homework on his character to determine whether he’s a realistic option at the No. 32 spot. If not, they will turn to other prospects at the position.

Another inside linebacker dealing with off-field baggage is Georgia’s Alec Ogletree, who was arrested earlier this month for DUI. Ogletree excelled at a number of positions for the Bulldogs and is considered exceptional in pass coverage, but his off-field issues — he was also suspended four games last season for failing a drug test during spring practice — may send him down the draft board, making him a possibility at the end of the first round. The questions associated with Te’o and Ogletree may benefit the Ravens, who would have figured to have no chance for either player under regular circumstances.

Other inside linebacker prospects that could be options in the first few rounds include LSU’s Kevin Minter, Oregon’s Kiko Alonso, and Alabama’s Nico Johnson, who will not participate at the combine after undergoing sports hernia surgery following the Senior Bowl.

Addressing the blind side

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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Real question is when — not how — Ravens, Flacco strike long-term deal

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Real question is when — not how — Ravens, Flacco strike long-term deal

Posted on 11 February 2013 by Luke Jones

Forgive me if I’m not interested in discussing how much money quarterback Joe Flacco is really worth as he and agent Joe Linta reopen contract talks with the Baltimore Ravens this week.

That was a far more compelling debate just two months ago when Flacco fell into the category of good quarterbacks yet to win a Super Bowl. Now, the Super Bowl XLVII Most Valuable Player — fresh off one of the greatest postseason runs in NFL history — undoubtedly falls somewhere in the small group of premium-tier quarterbacks, making the value of his next contract less compelling as he now should be viewed as the next top quarterback in line for a payday.

Flacco’s the next man up at the ATM, ready to receive a record-setting deal that will inevitably be trumped by Aaron Rodgers or even Matt Ryan in the next year or two. That’s the way it works for the likes of Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Eli Manning. It’s largely a cyclical process for the quarterbacks with staying power.

There’s no disputing that Flacco is going to get paid lucratively, whether you want to face reality or insist on saying he needs to show more than what he did over the final month of the season or that he should give the Ravens a discount to preserve the cap. That’s not to trivialize the complexity of negotiations between Linta and general manager Ozzie Newsome and vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty, but Flacco will emerge somewhere among the top two or three highest-paid quarterbacks in the league — if not the highest — when it’s all said and done. All the signs point to it, regardless of where you stood on the Flacco meter prior to the 28-year-old throwing 11 touchdowns without an interception over four playoff games.

“When you do a contract of this magnitude, you look at two things,” Linta said on AM 1570 WNST.net last week. “One is his body of work, what he’s done in the past up to now, especially in the last five weeks, but especially the last five years. And then, as you go forward, what are the expectations over the next four, five, or six years? What is his health, his age, all those kinds of things? You factor all those things and then come up with something that you think is fair.”

Linta and Flacco hold all the leverage as they’re fully aware of the Ravens’ tight salary cap and how a long-term agreement is a necessity to avoid losing countless players — free agents and players under contract alike. Both sides know Flacco is entering his prime years and has never missed a game in his entire career. And it’s no longer a question whether Flacco is capable of leading a team to a championship; he’s done it already.

The challenge for the Ravens becomes how firmly Newsome can stand his ground in trying to negotiate the healthiest deal for his franchise while also remembering how critical it will be to have a deal signed by March 4, the deadline for using the franchise tag. In order to maintain any semblance of the 2012 championship team, the Ravens simply have no choice but to reach a deal with their most important player.

The problem is Linta knows that, meaning the agent can try to bleed every last nickel from the Ravens that he wants. This negotiation is about leverage and where Flacco is right now in his career, regardless of what anyone thinks his “true” value is based on the collective body of work through five professional seasons.

How the deal gets done isn’t nearly as important as when it happens.

If the sides are unable to strike a deal, the Ravens are faced with the reality of spending a minimum of $14.6 million by way of the non-exclusive franchise tag, which would still leave Flacco free to negotiate with other teams. Should another team sign him to an offer sheet, the Ravens would have five days to match the offer or receive two first-round picks from that organization.

The safer — but more costly — alternative would be to place the exclusive tag on Flacco, guaranteeing he would remain in Baltimore for another year but also meaning the Ravens would need to pay upwards of $20 million in salary for the 2013 season. According to NFL.com, the Ravens are roughly $12.9 million under the cap before addressing Flacco, their restricted free agents, or any of their impending free agents.

In other words, the exclusive tag means the Ravens would be waving goodbye to several more veterans, which could include the likes of fullback Vonta Leach, kick returner Jacoby Jones, and top wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Such cuts would be to simply clear enough room to fit the quarterback inside the cap without addressing any other holes created in that process.

And never mind what the exclusive tag price would mean to Linta’s negotiating position, with him then having the tangible $20 million-per-season platform on which to stand.

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>

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Here’s an idea…let’s bring back Anthony Wright or Kyle Boller

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Here’s an idea…let’s bring back Anthony Wright or Kyle Boller

Posted on 11 February 2013 by Drew Forrester

You people have reached an all-time low now.

Seriously.  I thought it was bad when a quarter of the stadium cheered after Kyle Boller suffered an in-game injury, but that’s nothing compared to what we’re currently going through with regard to Joe Flacco.

Last week – and I’m sure, even more again this coming week – a bunch of you either called the show or e-mailed me to talk about Joe Flacco’s contract situation.  Somehow, as if you had been struck in the head by a two-by-four, you managed to exceed the stupidity-cap by saying stuff like this:

“Look, Flacco’s a good quarterback, but we can’t mortgage the franchise for him.”

“If Joe really wants to show what kind of teammate he is, he’ll take a little less money so the Ravens can keep some of their veterans like Kruger, Ellerbe and Cary Williams.”

“Anyone can win one Super Bowl. If Joe really wants that hundred million dollar contract, he has to do it one more time.”

All three of those calls came in to my show.  Scanning the local radio dial last week, I heard a lot more of that nonsense – and then some, as folks who can’t come to grips with the fact that Flacco is a champion just decided to say dumb stuff and hope it passed as intelligence.

It didn’t.

If you aren’t convinced that Joe Flacco is the real deal by now, you should literally sell your season tickets back to the Ravens and  rake leaves on Sundays in the fall.

For starters, Flacco deserves every penny he can squeeze out of Ozzie Newsome.  It doesn’t matter how much it is.  If the quarterback is happy with the deal, it’s fair.  Get it done – and pay the man.

Some folks are saying “he doesn’t deserve to be the highest paid quarterback in the league.”  OK, well, then, how DOES he become the highest paid QB in the league if he’s not that guy right now?  If he can’t earn the largest contract in the league after doing what he has done over the last five years, when CAN he earn it?  Does everyone understand what’s going on here in Baltimore?  After twelve years of employing stiffs at quarterback, the Ravens finally found their gem in 2008.  All he’s done since then is win more games than any other guy at his position in the league.  Three trips to the AFC title game, a Super Bowl title…

Somehow, there are nitwits in town who still think this guy Flacco doesn’t deserve to cash in.

I know we fancy ourselves an upscale, sophisticated sports community, but it’s times like these when I wonder how some of you find your way back and forth to work each day.

Joe Flacco just delivered the city a world football championship and, within days of doing so, you were already back to taking a shot at him or challenging him to “prove” how great he is by winning just one more championship.

I wish I represented Flacco.  Not that Joe Linta isn’t doing a good job for him, but I’d go see Ozzie with a huge duffel bag and dump it out on his desk.  You know what would be in there?  I would have copied enough $100 bills to fill the bag up and then I would spread it out on Oz’s desk and say, “That’s what $150 million looks like in case you were wondering.”  (Yeah, I know, a whole duffel bag of fake $100 bills probably wouldn’t equal $150 million but it’s all in the presentation.)

All the man has done since he showed up here in 2008 is WIN.  That’s it.  He’s started every game, won most of them, and guided his team through four post-season games in 2013 and won the world title last Sunday night.

A week later, and people are still putting the dude down.

It’s embarrassing, honestly.

And sad, too.

The only good news is that Flacco is going to be too busy to listen to talk radio, surf the web or read the newspaper.

You’d be busy, too, if you were counting that much money.

 

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Will Breaking the Bank Bust the Cap?

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Will Breaking the Bank Bust the Cap?

Posted on 07 February 2013 by Thyrl Nelson

Joe Flacco is about to get paid. There’s no question about that, and now that he’s hoisted his first Lombardi trophy, everyone seems to be okay with it. Turn back the clock a couple of weeks and there were few who were willing to consider Flacco as anything more than an average to a slightly above average QB. Turn it back a few days and Flacco was knocking on the door of most people’s top 5’s.  Now after winning the Super Bowl, even the biggest and longest tenured of Flacco supporters have to be surprised to see folks ranking him anywhere between 1st and 4th among the NFL’s best signal callers.

This is the way of the fan however, and of the national media as well. You almost have to wonder how much differently the same people would be grading Flacco’s place in the hierarchy if the Ravens defense had failed to keep Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers out of the end zone and Flacco’s Ravens had lost the Super Bowl as a result.

 

None of that matters now. Flacco has risen to the occasion, not only on the grandest of stages but also at the most opportune time…just ahead of his contract negotiations.

 

Over the last few weeks for Flacco, everything has changed, and nothing has changed. That’s because the quarterback and his agent have maintained all along that they’re expecting a contract that will set the market and not just one that conforms with the market. Meanwhile, the Ravens have been trying to be fiscally responsible, while also having to acknowledge that allowing the QB to get away was simply not an option. Neither of those things has changed a bit. As leverage goes however, the pendulum has swung mightily in the favor of Flacco’s camp, and the Ravens at least have to feel more confident in the capabilities of the quarterback that they were undeniably beholden to anyway.

 

Now the question becomes whether it’s in Flacco’s best interest to squeeze every nickel possible out of the club, because he can; or if the QB might be better served in leaving a bit of money on the table in order to allow the Ravens, in a salary cap environment, to continue to put talent around him.

 

This question would seem to put Flacco in a bit of an awkward position. While Flacco has an agent, Joe Linta, to do his negotiating for him, he also has to decide for himself what’s best. The QB likely has designs on winning more titles; perhaps building a resume that could be considered Hall of Fame worthy at some point, and of course on getting paid too. The agent wants to get him paid not only because he’ll earn his commission off of the contract he negotiates, but perhaps just as importantly because having negotiated the NFL’s biggest QB deal would represent a substantial feather in his cap that would surely be helpful in attracting future clients.

 

Flacco also has to consider that while his leaving money on the table in order for the Ravens to be better able to acquire and retain talent should benefit him, he’ll still have no real say in how that money is spent. Lets not forget that the Ravens spent approximately 1/3 of their salary cap last year on 4 defensive players in Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata. That’s more than they spent on the entire starting offense, including Flacco himself.

 

Throughout his time as a Raven, Flacco has seen a virtual revolving door of talent on the offensive line and in the receiving corps, and a steady commitment to retention of defensive players who may now be on the downsides of their careers. While this makes Flacco’s achievements, along with his ability to stay healthy, that much more impressive, it may also strengthen his willingness to take all that he can get financially and continue to take his chances with the talent that General Manager Ozzie Newsome is able to put around him with what’s left.

 

What hasn’t changed about these negotiations is that both sides will eventually reach an agreement that keeps Flacco around for the long term. What has changed about these negotiations is likely everything else. The answers are coming. Now it’s time to hold your breath and hope that those answers are the right ones. .

 

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Does Ozzie Newsome deserve some blame in the Flacco-Cameron saga?

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Does Ozzie Newsome deserve some blame in the Flacco-Cameron saga?

Posted on 11 December 2012 by Drew Forrester

If you’re one of those who like to play the blame-game, Monday’s dismissal of Cam Cameron offers you a smorgasbord of options on which to feast.

In no specific order, you have the following:

John Harbaugh, the man who employed Cam for the last 4+ seasons, and the person in charge of the on-field product, which includes being in touch with his players and their festering aggravation with one of his coaches.

Steve Bisciotti, who, while rightfully considered in general a “good owner”, has spent a little too much time over the years hob-knobbing with the players to the extent he might be closer with them then he should be.

Joe Flacco, perhaps the main spoke in the Cameron firing-wheel, and the guy who potentially might have suffered the most while working under his now former boss.  But, if Cameron was inconsistent as a play-caller and offensive coordinator, Flacco has to wear the same basic scarlet letter, for he, too, hasn’t exactly been a shining beacon of consistency in the last four months.

The Ravens defense, which has been occasionally superb but more often a liability this season, particularly in the final 5 minutes of the team’s most two recent losses to the Steelers and Redskins.  True, they were very good earlier in the year against the Chiefs and the Browns and the Chargers.  They were also woefully exposed by the Cowboys, Texans, Steelers (with a bum at quarterback) and Redskins.

The Ravens offense, with players in key positions not playing up to par week-in and week-out.  I’m all for Jim Caldwell taking over at this point, but I’d be shocked if he can give back to Anquan Boldin that step he’s lost over the last year or so…or turn Michael Oher into a premier pass blocker as a left tackle…or heal Marshal Yanda’s bad ankle within two weeks…or get Torrey Smith to run his routes to completion the way they’re designed in the playbook.

And then, there’s one other name to add to the mix:  Ozzie Newsome.

Let the continuing story of “how Cam got canned” be examined with Ozzie’s name in mind, for it’s Newsome who wasn’t able to ink a new deal with his team’s franchise quarterback, thus paving the way for Joe Flacco to play the 2012 campaign as a “lame duck”.

Yes, there always remains the option of the franchise tag for Flacco.  But, as any player will tell you, that’s a band-aid – a nice, lucrative one – he’d rather not wear if it’s possible.

The easiest way to start any conversation about Joe Flacco and his contract situation is to simply say this about him and his future in Baltimore:  The Ravens want him back in 2013 and Flacco would like to return for a 6th season.

There’s no debating that at this point.  The two parties are still in love.

But – and here’s where we start the dissection of how things are off kilter – these are very complicated times in Owings Mills, particularly when it comes to assessing Flacco’s value.

And who’s fault is that?

If you ask Flacco and/or his agent, Joe Linta, they’re going to place the blame squarely on the employer — the Ravens, the offense and, naturally, Cam Cameron.

Linta, as a natural reaction to his Flacco’s contract status being in the spotlight, would argue up and down that with each passing game where the Baltimore offense was stagnant or stuck in neutral because of Cameron’s inconsistency, his client was effectively “losing money”.

Honestly — he’s right.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that his client doesn’t bear some of that responsibility.  He, Flacco, that is, might be costing himself money with every incompletion or strip-sack or poor audible.

But the agent would never admit that to the general manager of the team.

Instead – and if you close your eyes and let the movie play out in your head, you’ll hear it for yourself – I’m quite certain with every “new conversation” Linta and Newsome have had over the few months that Joe’s representative has reminded Ozzie in no uncertain terms that Cameron and the on-again, off-again Ravens offense is costing the quarterback big money.

“Ozzie, I respect you and the organization and so does Joe,” Linta is likely saying.  ”But you can’t possibly think you’re doing my client a true service by having Cam Cameron operate that offense in such a manner that it’s clearly hindering his qualities as a high-level NFL player.  You’ve known for a year now that Cam and Joe can’t exist together in the long run.  They’ve tried to make it work and it’s just not going to happen.  All you’re doing by trying to force this Cameron-Flacco relationship on both of them is costing Joe Flacco money.  And, even though I make little in comparison to my client, you’re costing ME money, too.  Get this Cameron thing sorted out and let’s make Joe the $90 million player he deserves to be.”

I imagine a conversation like that has been going on nearly every Monday or so for the last 13 weeks.

(Please see next page)

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