The Baltimore Ravens are deciding what to do with quarterback Joe Flacco after he led the team to a victory in Super Bowl XLVII in the final year of his rookie contract.
After the two sides couldn't come to an agreement on an extension last August, there appear to be two options: use the exclusive franchise tag or use the non-exclusive tag on Flacco before the March 4 deadline.
The Ravens should use the exclusive franchise tag on the 28-year-old. No fooling around.
If Baltimore uses the non-exclusive tag, the club could get Flacco for a bargain next season, as pointed out by USA Today. On the other hand, other teams would have the option to go after Flacco and they could up the ante. The Ravens could either match the highest offer and keep him (similar to the way it works for restricted free agents in the NBA) or they could let him go and receive two first-round picks in return.
If Baltimore uses the exclusive tag, the team gets Flacco for one season at $20.46 million, roughly the average salary of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. But no other teams would be able to make offers to Flacco in that scenario. He would be a Raven in 2013.
Of course, there is still a chance the two sides will come together and work out a long-term deal. The Ravens are expected to meet with Joe Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, this weekend, per the USA Today report.
And, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com notes, it does make sense for both sides to sign a long-term deal.
But, the fact of the matter is, Flacco still has more leverage than the Ravens, and Linta will likely ask for an average salary of $20 million or more per year for the next few years. That is a lot of dough.
Coming off a Super Bowl victory, Flacco has never seen his stock reach such a high level. The only way it could be higher moving forward is if Baltimore wins another Super Bowl. And if that happens, you might as well ink Flacco after that. His asking price couldn't reasonably be much more than it is now.
It's widely expected for the Ravens to slap Flacco with the exclusive franchise tag before the March 4 deadline. And that figures to be the best move at this juncture for Baltimore.