Drew Brees and Joe Flacco are both Super Bowl champions, great quarterbacks, and now rank one and two atop the list of highest paid NFL players. Joe Flacco recently signed a contract that will reportedly surpass Drew Brees’ $20 million per year in annual salary. A simple comparison of the New Orleans Saints quarterback with the reigning Super Bowl MVP proves that the Baltimore Ravens overpaid to keep the man that helped bring the Lombardi Trophy to Baltimore.
While details are still emerging about Flacco’s record-breaking deal, it will reportedly eclipse Brees’ $20 million per year in annual salary. If this is meant to be anything more than an overly exuberant display of loyalty, Joe Flacco’s new contract is an incredible mistake. If the Ravens are trying to say that Flacco is the game’s best player, they’re wrong.
Flacco isn’t even the game’s best quarterback, as demonstrated by a comparison of what Drew Brees did to earn his contract against Joe Flacco’s Super Bowl reward. Drew Brees saved the city of New Orleans and carried his team to a Super Bowl victory to become the highest-paid player in the NFL, while Joe Flacco was simply one of many great players on the Ravens.
Following Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was nearly wiped off the map. Football was certainly the least of the city’s worries, but the New Orleans Saints were reeling, both as a franchise and as members of a devastated community. Drew Brees–a risky free agent coming off a season-ending injury–signed with the Saints despite their poor record and the rebuilding efforts taking place on and off the field.
The Saints won a Super Bowl and energized a population that lost everything. Drew Brees, along with a coaching change, brought a winning culture to a lost city.
Joe Flacco was certainly instrumental to the Ravens winning the Super Bowl, but he played with a great defense and a strong running game. He played his best football at the perfect time, and helped lead a talented offense through a remarkable playoff run, but he didn’t do it alone. Drew Brees had no such running game and certainly didn’t have Baltimore’s incredible defense. Joe Flacco was, however, the most important piece of the puzzle for the Ravens, who had been aching for a quarterback for years. Still, to pay Flacco more than Brees suggests that Flacco might mean more to the city of Baltimore or the Ravens than Brees does to the New Orleans Saints. This simply isn’t true.
By the numbers, Joe Flacco does not deserve his contract. The intangibles might be close between the two biggest contracts in football, as both delivered a Super Bowl win and established themselves as irreplaceable within the organization. Statistically, however, Joe Flacco might be the most overpaid football player in the league history, and certainly doesn’t compete with Drew Brees. Though the two offenses are drastically different, Flacco is nowhere near the passer that is Drew Brees.
Flacco has never thrown for 4,000 yards. Brees has thrown for 5,000 yards three times in his career, holds the record for passing yards in a season, and is the only quarterback to throw for 5,000 yards in consecutive seasons. Additionally, Brees has never thrown for fewer than 4,000 yards with the Saints.
Joe Flacco has thrown for double-digit interceptions every year of his career, while his best season produced only 25 touchdowns. Drew Brees holds the record for most games in a row with a touchdown pass and produced 89 touchdowns in the last two seasons alone – just 13 fewer than Flacco’s entire career. Joe Flacco is a 60.5% passer in his career, while Brees is a 65.6% passer, 67.1% in New Orleans.
In no way does Joe Flacco compare to Drew Brees, or any of the other elite quarterbacks in football. His contract is a mistake, and the Baltimore Ravens overpaid by making him the highest paid player in the NFL.