Like it or Not, Joe Flacco Is Here to Stay
As bad as this season has been, you can never take away this piece of hardware, and you can’t get rid of Joe Flacco.
The Ravens stand at 1-5 after a 25-20 loss in San Francisco, handing the 49ers just their second win of the of the season. If 1-4 didn’t convince you this was a lost season, 1-5 and losing to a 1-4 team to get there might do that.
In times of dire need, everyone’s inner general manager comes out, and everyone knows exactly how to fix this catastrophic season. Except that no one knows, because frankly, the Ravens haven’t been here to face this kind of mess since they were building the foundation of the team some 18 or so years ago. But that’s another story for another day.
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The hot name today, as always, is Joe Flacco. The most polarizing player in the game. It’s so easy to place the blame here, especially after what we saw on Sunday. Two interceptions that would even make Kyle Boller say, “Damn, that’s bad.” The first he tried to squeeze into a tight window between two linebackers. The second was a deep heave that a 49ers safety fielded like a punt. A punt that needed no fair catch as there wasn’t a Ravens jersey within 10 yards of him.
Let’s not forget that had Ravens receivers brought their hands to the Bay Area, Flacco would have also thrown four touchdowns on the day.
Joe Flacco is here to stay for a while. Plain and simple. Like it or not. Here’s why, based on things folks who call into talk radio mention.
They should trade Flacco to a contender and stock up on draft picks or playmakers in return.
This is not baseball. You don’t just take your most important guy and trade him to a team in need of that player for a playoff run and stock pile prospects in return. It doesn’t work that way.
Say the Ravens traded Joe Flacco. They are still on the hook for all of the guaranteed money prorated across the contract, which becomes dead money. If they traded Flacco today, they would save $2.5M for the remainder of the year. $10.55M would stay on the books as dead money, and the base salary would be paid for by the team receiving Flacco. ($250K per game X 10 games left = $2.5M).
Not only that, they would have to place the remaining guaranteed money on the books into dead money next season, at $25.85M. It’s bad enough that there is currently $21.91M in dead money that the Ravens couldn’t use this year. You want to start next year $25.85M in the hole? I don’t think so.
They should just cut Flacco at year’s end. He isn’t living up to that contract.
Well, again, there is the dead money issue. However, if you cut Joe Flacco this offseason, and designate it as taking place after June 1, 2016, He costs $10.55M in dead money for 2016, and $15.3M in dead money in 2017. So in 2017, you want to spend more against the cap for him not to play for you, than what his cap hit is against the team in 2015 ($14.55M)? I don’t think so.
They should draft a QB with their high draft pick and let him learn under Flacco. Then after Flacco’s contract is up, don’t resign him. He isn’t worth another large contract, and the draft pick will be ready to roll.
I thought Flacco was the problem. You want the next franchise QB (because high draft picks are such sure things, cough…RG3…cough) to learn from Flacco? But he’s not enough of a problem that he plays out his existing contract, is that right? Well, that just plain won’t happen. If you let Flacco play out his existing contract, he will cost $28.55M against the cap next year, $31.15M the year after, and back to $24.75M in his final year. Right now, Drew Brees is the quarterback and player that counts the most against the cap of all QBs at $23.8M. Not a chance that the Ravens will let Flacco play at those high cap numbers. $20M is just recently becoming the top end figure for quarterback cap numbers, and the Saints pushed it with Brees at $23.8M, and $30M next year without a restructure. The Saints absolutely will restructure their most beloved player in team history, next to Steve Gleason. Allow Flacco to cost more against the salary cap than any other player in the league by at least $5M? I don’t think so.
They should make Flacco take a pay cut. Tom Brady takes pay cuts.
Maybe you should take a pay cut. Oh, no? Why not? You earned it, right? Hasn’t he earned his? Hasn’t he over his career earned the right to be one of higher paid players in football? Isn’t the fact that there are 11 other quarterbacks that count more against the cap this year, pretty much on par with how much Flacco is worth? Slightly above average?
For the millionth time, Tom Brady does not take pay cuts. The Patriots convert some of his base salary into guaranteed money, to lower their cap hit from him at times. Brady has accepted contract extensions that give him more money up front, for a lower, team friendly cap figure for a few years. In fact, Brady’s latest restructure of his remaining three years under contract, gives him an extra $1M a year than he would have gotten before. The cap number went up too to accommodate that. So don’t believe for a second that Tom Brady gives money back to the owner to spend on the team.
Flacco should give money back after this season to play for a smaller cap number? I don’t think so.
And that brings us to the only option left…an extension for Joe Flacco.
With the contract that Joe Flacco received following the 2012 season, the Ravens essentially said, Joe Flacco is our quarterback until the day he retires. Following five straight playoff appearances and a Super Bowl title, that’s exactly what you do. So many teams are looking for that quarterback that they can ride to the Super Bowl. Yeah it’s a team effort, but the quarterback drives the bus.
In this article from back in June, I talked about a possible extension for Joe Flacco. An extension that is imminent after this season to prevent him from playing at a $28.5M cap figure. I came up with an eight year, $154M with $65M of that guaranteed. The long and short of it is that for the next four years, Flacco’s cap number would be $21.55M, $22.55M, $22.765M, and $23M. After that he is 35 years old. He will have had another four years under him that you can use to decide on whether to proceed with Joe Flacco, or not. Why? Because in my mock of a possible extension, he would cost just $7M in dead money in that fifth year if you let him go, and zero dead money for the final three years. Five years from now, $7M in dead cap might not cripple you. Right now the Ravens have two guys accounting for over $7M in dead money each (Rice, Ngata).
You might say I’m crazy for offering 8/$154M. But if Flacco isn’t worth it after four years, it then becomes a 4/$96.8M deal when you cut him with minimal salary cap repercussions.
You can’t trade him, you can’t cut him, you can’t let him playout his contract. You can’t have Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady instead. It doesn’t work that way. To everyone who wants to play make believe general manager, and thinks they have all the answers for fixing the Ravens, any plan that doesn’t include a contract extension for Joe Flacco, is a fallacy that won’t be taken seriously. His salary isn’t handcuffing the Ravens. Just like the other 11 quarterbacks, and 22 other players total with higher cap hits than that of Flacco aren’t handcuffing their teams. If anything, Ray Rice’s $9.5M cap hit hurt this team the most.
For the Ravens, it’s a lost year. On the bright side, they will free up $20M or so in dead cap money for 2016. Given the extension to Flacco, I expect a cap hit to increase about $7M for him. $13M more to play with, plus the increase in the cap itself gives the Ravens more room to play in free agency. Gives them more room to move up in the draft if they really like a guy, where the higher the pick the more money it costs.
You don’t have to like it. But Flacco is our guy for at least four more years. No doubt about it. Personally I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ll take the solid, reliable Joe Flacco, over some rookie, or some washed up veteran, and the dead money salary cap hell that comes with them. Those are your alternatives.
Completely unrealistic alternatives.
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected]