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NFL Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens: Breaking Down Joe Flacco’s Contract Extension

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Breaking Down Joe Flacco's Contract Extension

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Evan Habeeb- USA Today Sports

Joe Flacco seems to be an easy target for criticism these days for his six-year, $120 million contract extension. Flacco has watched nine starters leave the 2012 Super Bowl champions: center Matt Birk went on to retire, safety Bernard Pollard was cut, outside linebacker Paul Kruger and inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe went on to sign $40 million and $35 million dollar contracts respectively. Who can blame them? Nobody. Who can blame Flacco for the departures? Nobody.

It's easy for others to see a big pile of money sent to one person and say that is the reason for nine starters leaving the Baltimore Ravens. Sorry, the NFL salary cap doesn't work that way, and life certainly doesn't work that way either. Here is what people need to understand. When Ray Lewis retired and Ed Reed left, that pretty much created an open-door policy to give anyone the boot.

Did the Ravens want to see nine starters from their Super Bowl team leave? Of course not. But at the same time, players want more money after a Super Bowl, and the Ravens certainly were not, and will not overpay players just for that. This certainly applies to former Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who was one of my favorite players on the team, but sometimes the team has to make the hard decisions.

But if people are going to be critical of Flacco due to all of the players that left so far, we all can at least get the figures right, correct? I think so. This six-year deal is a three-year deal in actuality, something which will be addressed again in the near future.

Flacco's contract is cap-friendly by quarterback standards over the next three seasons, and the following figures by Brian McFarland of russellstreetreport.com and Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun illustrate that his cap number had virtually little to no impact on Boldin or fullback Vonta Leach leaving. The first three years are numbers reported by McFarland, and the last three years are reported by Wilson.

Wola Odeniran is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter at WolaOdeniran52.

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Year 1

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Evan Habeeb- USA Today Sports

Flacco's cap number in 2013 is $6.8 million, very low considering the circumstances. His cap value had little to do with Leach and Boldin departing, with both of them on one-year deals before their release and trade respectively.

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Year 2

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Evan Habeeb- USA Today Sports

In 2014, Flacco's cap number increases to $14.8 million. It's still a cap-friendly number considering the going rate for quarterbacks these days.

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Year 3

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Evan Habeeb- USA Today Sports

In 2015, Flacco's number is still comparable to the 2014 cap number, with $14.5 million counting against the cap in year three. Things look very reasonable so far for the Ravens and Flacco.

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Year 4

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Evan Habeeb- USA Today Sports

This is where it gets interesting. In year four, the cap number begins to escalate to $28.5 million, double from what it was in the 2015 season at $14.5 million. Expect a deal to be reconstructed with that number.

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Year 5

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Evan Habeeb- USA Today Sports

In year five, the cap number reaches its peak at $31.5 million. Flacco may see the money in different portions, but not all at once.

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Year 6

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Evan Habeeb- USA Today Sports

In the last year of the six-year contract, the cap number will be $28.5 million. So as we can all see, Flacco's deal is a three-year deal. Both sides wanted to get something done in for the time being, and they did just that.