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

December 11, 2012 | Drew Forrester

With each game and each poor offensive effort, Joe Flacco has been losing money.  He might have been, at one time, a $90 million quarterback.  Now, on December 11, he might be a $78 million quarterback.  Another three weeks with no offensive progress and he could be a $70 million quarterback.

The clock is ticking and the bank account for Joe Flacco is diminishing.

And it’s Joe Linta’s job to paint his client in the most favorable light he can to Ozzie Newsome.

It’s also Linta’s job to remind Newsome that Flacco doesn’t have to play in Baltimore if the Ravens truly don’t value him, which I’m sure the agent has done on numerous occasions.

Here’s the white elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about it, but there it sits.  You want the truth?  Joe Flacco doesn’t really, truly care where he plays football. He likes it here in Baltimore, sure.  It’s close to his home and relatives in New Jersey.  He’s not itching to leave or anything.  But if you think he wouldn’t be just as happy in Philadelphia or Kansas City or Arizona – as long as he got paid – you’re living in fantasyland.

And I’m quite certain, in the friendliest way possible, Joe Linta has dropped that hint to Ozzie Newsome or Pat Moriarty during the negotiating process.

All of this is precisely why you never let a star player that you want to keep (like Flacco in Baltimore) go into a season as a lame-duck.  You get him signed, by hook or by crook, before that first ball gets kicked off in September.

Now, with the offensive issues and the fustercluck that “was” Cam Cameron, all the Ravens have done is let their franchise quarterback get blown around with the breeze over the last four months.

And it’s caused strife with him, for sure, because his value has diminished throughout the season, either here in Baltimore or with other NFL teams who might be interested somewhere down the road.

Sure, the Ravens can simply franchise Flacco and give him $17 million next spring and all will be OK.  Except for the fact that he would probably rake in $25 million or more in the form of a signing bonus on a five year deal.  Last summer, a source told me Joe was looking for $28.5 million in year one “guaranteed money” and another $70 million over six seasons with the first two of those guaranteed in the form of roster bonus payments.  Now, we all know that “looking for” and “getting” are two different things, but those were the numbers that were floating around last August.

Would you give Flacco a $28.5 million signing bonus right now based on what you’ve seen this season, even if that figure falls fairly in line with what other #1 quarterbacks around the league are receiving?

I wouldn’t.

And that’s Linta’s point, I assume.

The Ravens themselves have diminished his client’s value by contributing to this stuck-in-neutral offense led by the now jettisoned Cam Cameron.

Ozzie Newsome would counter by saying, “Just because you think your client should sign a $98 million deal doesn’t mean we think he should.”

And he’d be right about that.

But there’s no arguing that letting Flacco play the 2012 season without a contract for 2013 and beyond has backfired on Newsome and the Ravens.

They want him back.

They believe in him.

They think they can win a title with him.

But they haven’t paid him, yet.

And that’s one of the reasons why Cam Cameron got fired on Monday.

Confusion reigns at Owings Mills, although Monday’s ouster of Cam and interim hiring of Jim Caldwell could patch it up in time to salvage the 2012 campaign.

No matter how you slice it, the Ravens allowing Flacco to play 2012 as a lame-duck was the wrong move.

And Joe Flacco has lost money because of it.

His team, it can be debated, has lost games because of it, too.

9 Comments For This Post

  1. joe of bel air Says:

    And people in hell want ice water. Flacco must be smoking hippie lettuce if he thinks he is worth $98 million over 6 years. Try taking us to and winning a Super Bowl like the Manning boys, Big Ben and Tom Terrific, befor you start asking for that kind of coin. The Ravens are caught between a rock and a hard place with Flacco’s contract. I believe Flacco is a good QB, certainly capable of taking the Ravens to the Super Bowl if he has a good cast around him (offense, defense and special teams) but with his inconsistent production over the last 2 years, how do you commit to a long term contract. What you see this year may be what you get for the rest of his career. Would liked to have seen what Flacco was capable of with a new OC for the entire 2012 season, not just for the final 3 or 4 games. Ozzie, John and Steve should have seen this coming some time ago and made this decision in February not mid-December.

  2. The Armchair QB Says:

    Drew: to paraphrase a famous country song, “You’re looking for BLAME in all the wrong places’! Cameron’s “Jekyll & Hyde” offense was there for everyone to see. Not just game to game, but also quarter to quarter! In the final analysis, that’s what got him fired! The only other person to blame would be the head coach, whose intervention prevented Cameron from being fired two years ago, when the timing might have been better, but for the impending lockout!

  3. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    I think Biscotti is sending a bow shot in letting all the coaches and players know it’s all about winning. And if that does not happen jobs will not be safe.

  4. cy Says:

    I think we’re making a soap opera out of a considerably more simpler reality. Any serious football fan knew what you got with Cam Cameron. And no one was better placed to know what Cam would do in a given situation than his QB of 5 years and the eye in the sky for 13 games in Caldwell.

    Bottom line is, if we know what Cam would do, why do we need Cam? Let’s bring someone with a different offensive-style and conception in on the eve of the playoffs so we can add that extra kick of unpredictability to the offense.

  5. Over40 Don Says:

    Drew, I’m enjoying your barrage of posts of late. The only thing I’ll take exception to is calling Batch a “bum” . He beat us in our house, rarely plays if at all. That said, I congratulate you on being 1st of Baltimore sports writers mentioned in following article on

  6. Cy Says:

    Mind you, this Denver game is absolutely vital to the playoff picture and the final seedings. So if the plan was to unleash some extra fire-power, this is perfect timing. Home field advantage. A Rabid crowd itching to re-kindle it’s vaunted homefield advantage. A future HOF and DPOY returning to the line-up. A QB with something to prove. And a new OC who was burned at the stake while being stuck with an unmotivated team the last time he was at the helm.

    I feel like we’re severely underestimating the whoopass Baltimore is about to unleash on this league.

  7. RJ Says:

    Good jouranlistic reporting, Drew … both on this topic, and the firing of Cam! Keep it up.

  8. Unitastoberry Says:

    This is what you get when you go to the playoffs 4 years in a row and the afc championship game twice and lose it then put a poor season of offense and defense but your still the best team in the divison lol.The fan base and ownership is under a microscope to win. It’s what pro sports is all about.

  9. dave hittinger Says:

    It all starts with Ozzie and the fact remains he allowed the defense to get old and thread-bear. Relying on Ray Lewis and Ed Reed is ridiculous, they’ve been done now for several years. Fact of the matter is they haven’t drafted well in several years, and now it’s showing up on the field. Fire all the coaches if you want, still won’t change things.

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