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.