Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco recently enjoyed one of the most successful postseasons in NFL history, a playoff run that culminated in a Super Bowl championship and MVP award.
Now it appears that Flacco is going to ride that success all the way to the bank.
As Greg Rosenthal of NFL.com reports, when Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, was asked on CNBC Tuesday if the impending free-agent passer should be the highest paid quarterback in the NFL, Linta's answer was simple.
"Yes," Linta said.
Now, the point of this article isn't to debate whether or not Flacco is actually worth a deal that could pay the five-year veteran more than $20 million annually. There will be plenty of that over the coming days and weeks.
However, if Joe Flacco is going to get that much cabbage then there will undoubtedly be a few NFL quarterbacks who are going to look at their own paychecks and start scratching their heads.
Here's a look at three such quarterbacks.
It's worth noting that you won't see names like Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers, or even Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals listed here.
The reason is simple. Even if they want a raise and their teams are amenable to giving them one, their rookie contracts cannot be renegotiated until three years have passed per the terms of the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Of all the veteran quarterbacks who will be watching Joe Flacco's contract negotiations with interest, none will do so more keenly than Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers.
The 2011 NFL MVP, who threw for 4,295 yards and 39 touchdowns in 2012, is under contract with the Packers through 2014, which means that negotiations on an extension could begin as soon as this offseason.
According to ESPN Rodgers himself admitted in a recent radio interview that "everybody is going to see what Joe [Flacco] ends up signing for.", but Rodgers also sounded confident that when the time comes he and the Packers will be able to come to terms.
When that time comes, we'll get a deal done. I'm not worried about that. I think the Packers want to keep me around for a little while longer, and I'd love to be a Packer for life.
Rodgers is set to make $9.25 million in 2013 as part of the six-year, $65 million deal he signed in 2008. When the time does come for that new contract it wouldn't be at all surprising to see that amount double and then some, nor would it be a shock to see Rodgers ink an even fatter contract than Flacco appears to be about to get.
Eli Manning, New York Giants
Now we've reached the part of this article where we begin to split hairs, as both of the other two passers on this list signed long-term contract extensions that will pay them in excess of $100 million over the life of the deal.
In fact, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is set to make $13 million in 2013 according to Spotrac, so it's not like the 32-year-old is exactly hurting for lunch money.
However, it's also not like Manning wouldn't have a beef if he were to grouse about Flacco making more money than he does. Manning's regular season numbers, even in a down 2012 season, were every bit as good as Flacco's, and Manning already has a pair of Super Bowl rings to his credit.
This all but certainly won't happen, though. For one, the Giants are cap-strapped right now, already jettisoning veterans like running back Ahmad Bradshaw and linebacker Michael Boley are in cost-cutting moves.
That would make a new deal problematic, to say the least.
Also, Manning is team player who as recently as March of 2012 restructured his contract to free up cap space for the Giants.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Much like Eli Manning, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a pair of Super Bowl rings, and much like Manning, Roetlisberger's fat contract would start looking a lot smaller in comparison to Joe Flacco's.
That certainly wasn't the case back in 2008, when Roethlisberger signed an eight-year, $102 million extension.
That extension, which the 30-year-old Roethlisberger and the team re-worked in February in order to make it more cap-friendly, is set to pay the nine-year veteran $11.6 million in 2013.
Just like Eli Manning, even if Roethlisberger isn't overly amused by the idea of Joe Flacco making significantly more money than he does, we all but certainly aren't going to hear about it.
At least not if Roethlisberger knows what's good for him.
Historically speaking, grousing publicly about money is a good way to work your way right out of Pittsburgh. Given Roethlisberger's very public missteps over the last several years, even if he's upset by Flacco's new mega-deal (assuming that it comes to pass) he should probably just keep it to himself.
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