Obviously talented enough to be selected 18th overall in the 2008 draft, Flacco has been labeled as more of a game manager at this point in his career. Moving forward, however, the quarterback will be discussed among the rest of the league’s elite signal-callers—names that include Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning—not only in status but in the pocketbook as well.
Young players muse over two things as they strive to play sports at the professional level: winning a championship and cashing in on their talents—though not always in that specific order.
Flacco will get the opportunity to accomplish both within a span of a couple months.
Though players will never admit it, there seems to be a bit more of an edge during seasons in which their contracts are set to expire. This is certainly not an indictment towards Flacco, but the timing of his impending free agency is flawless.
Possibly his most indispensable attribute is how consistent Flacco has been during his five-year career.
The quarterback has started in all 80 possible games, and—his rookie campaign aside—has completed at least 59.7 percent of his passes, thrown for at least 3,610 yards and 20 touchdowns, and has tossed no more than 12 interceptions in any season. Flacco also has a career 86.3 quarterback rating in the regular season to an 86.2 mark in 13 postseason games.
The 2012 season was different for Flacco and the Ravens, however, as the team began to shift from being one of the league’s premier defenses over the years to a group that relied more heavily on its offense to win games.
That dependence carried over into the postseason, as Flacco threw for 1,140 yards and 11 touchdowns while not being intercepted on a single throw. There is zero doubt that his performance will be the primary factor for the quarterback’s looming, and massive, payday.
Flacco’s agent, Joe Linta, says the quarterback should be the league’s highest paid player (via USA Today) at the position. While his track record may not necessarily warrant that distinction just yet, there are other factors that could possibly make it a reality.
Flacco holds all the cards here, as this year’s crop of college quarterbacks (via CBS.com) is not as revered as in years past and the names on the free-agent market (via NFLTradeRumors.com) are just as unproven.
Though it is hard to imagine that Flacco and the Ravens won’t eventually come to an agreement—and the team could indeed use the franchise tag in this spot—the waiting game could prove costly for Baltimore should the franchise dawdle about the specifics of a potential deal.
With so many teams in search of their franchise quarterback—and so little to choose from right now—Flacco’s services become that much more valuable in this league.
Flacco is sitting on top of the world right now. He and his agent will certainly use this to their benefit, even if there is no chance he plays anywhere else but Baltimore in 2013.
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