The biggest story out of Ravens camp this offseason hasn’t been about Terrell Suggs’ injury, or Joe Flacco saying he thinks he’s the best quarterback in the league or even that Chuck Pagano bolted to coach the kids in Indy this year. Those were all key pieces to an odd offseason, but the Ray Rice dilemna was the biggest story during the break.
Would he or wouldn’t he was the big question pertaining to Rice and his ongoing quest to receive a long-term deal from the Ravens. With Arian Foster and Marshawn Lynch getting new deals, there was no way Rice was just going to show up to camp and act like everything was okay. They took it down to the wire of the deadline, but a new deal finally got done to the tune of five years and $40 million.
Rice was slated to play on a franchise tender of $7.7 million but now, he will earn $17 million this year and $8 million in 2013. The new deal was earned as he totals a franchise-record 15 touchdowns in 2011 to go along with 1,364 yards rushing, the highest single-season total of his young career, while also leading the team with 76 catches for 704 yards.
But what does this mean for Joe Flacco? He foolishly stated ‘I think I’m the best’ QB in football back in April which garnered even more criticism than he received during the playoffs. I’ve gone on record several times in my underwhelming feelings towards the talents of Mr. Flacco, but you could do a lot worse. The Ravens love the kid, but come on man, you don’t have to say silly things like that to boost your stock. You’ll get your new deal.
In just four years in the league, Flacco has thrown for 13,816 yards and 82 touchdowns and has led the Ravens to at least one playoff victory each year. Last year, while actually outplaying Tom Brady, he came within a few plays of getting the Ravens to their first Super Bowl in twelve years.
With a team record of 44-20 in regular season games with him as quarterback, it’s hard to argue that he does get results, even if he does have a game or two once in awhile that makes you shake your head constantly. He still turns the ball over too much, but, again, results. The team wins while he is playing behind center. So to think Baltimore isn’t contemplating a new deal for him is just being unrealistic.
Sources close to the team have reported that he is indeed their next priority and has even been quoted as saying there is a 75 percent chance a new deal is reached before camp gets underway. And if you’re the Ravens, you have to hate the contract that the New York Jets gave to Mark Sanchez earlier this offseason.
Forget about the ridiculous deal that Drew Brees just inked. That elite level of quarterback play is a unique case and if Flacco’s agent brings that up in negotiations, he’s likely to be laughed out of the team offices. Mark Sanchez’ deal, while ludicrous, set the market for his tier of NFL quarterback. The extension that he signed was for $20.5 million in guarantees for 2012 and 2013, with a total of $40.5 million over the final three years. Man, are mediocre quarterbacks overpaid in this league.
But, the market declares that you are worth whatever it says you’re worth. I fully expect Flacco and his agent to use Sanchez’ deal as a blueprint for an extension that will likely exceed these numbers due to better team success and personal statistics.
Does Flacco deserve that kind of pay raise? Probably not. But neither did Mark Sanchez.