With Key Free Agents Looming, Baltimore Ravens Must Lock Up Joe Flacco

By James Taylor III
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

If the Baltimore Ravens have any hopes of repeating as champions, they will need to lock up some key free agents. By signing Joe Flacco to a long-term deal, the Ravens will give themselves a better chance at keeping some key contributors.

Flacco is coming off arguably the best postseason a quarterback has ever had. He and Joe Montana are the only signal-callers to ever have 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions in a single postseason.

His list of accomplishments and records he owns are extremely impressive for a quarterback who will be entering just his sixth season. He has the most road playoffs wins in postseason history and is the only quarterback to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons. The list goes on and on as the durable Flacco has been a model of consistency and steady improvement. Considering how he appears to be on the cusp of his prime years, it makes sense to lock up their steady leader.

With Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on the back nine of their respective careers, the AFC is Flacco’s mantle for the taking. He already has as many titles as Manning and much more recent playoff success than Brady, so why can’t he take the next step and become the top dog in the AFC?

Aside from locking up a player who is about to enter his prime, the long-term deal would also give the Ravens more wiggle room in signing other free agents.

If Flacco is simply given the franchise tag, his cap hit would be higher than that of a long-term deal. The cap hit of a player coming off of Flacco’s season in regards to the salary cap would be extremely high, so the flexibility of a long-term deal would make more sense against the cap.

With Ed Reed, Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe, Cary Williams and Bryant McKinnie all unrestricted free agents and Dennis Pitta, Arthur Jones and Albert McClellan restricted free agents, Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens front office will need every available dollar.

Thus, by locking up Flacco to more cap-friendly deal, the Ravens will increase their chances to lock up key free agents and keep this team together for years. A long-term deal makes sense both on the field and financially, so locking up their new leader for years to come should be the Ravens’ top priority.


Follow James on Twitter @JT3Sticks


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