If Joe Flacco knows what's good for him, he'll sign an extension with the Baltimore Ravens based on the extension Tom Brady signed with the New England Patriots.
Because it's about his legacy—not just about the money.
Brady's three-year, $27 million extension lowered his base salaries to $1 million in 2013 and $2 million in 2014, per Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. It also decreased his salary-cap figure from $21.55 million to $13.8 million in 2013.
The Ravens just won the Super Bowl. Given their cap situation, the retirement of Ray Lewis, and the potential loss of some key veterans such as safety Ed Reed, a lot of people think it may have been the club's last hurrah.
But Flacco can change that. He has the means to lessen the load for the Ravens so the team can still build a relatively talented team around the 28-year-old.
It may hurt him in the short term. The Ravens could use the franchise tag on him if a long-term deal isn't agreed upon. That would net him a cool $19.46 million in 2013, per Wilson's report.
But if he wants to do more in Baltimore, if he wants to potentially add to his legacy in the National Football League, he'll give the Ravens a bargain in the short term for a greater reward in the long term.
Keep in mind, Brady worked with the Patriots, but he also got a $30 million signing bonus and $57 million in guaranteed money for injury, via USA Today. In that sense, it wasn't a total waste for Brady. The guaranteed money for injury is especially important given players' concerns about shortened careers in the league.
Flacco can do the same thing. He may have to take less money, but he can still be paid handsomely while having some pieces—and the backing from a delighted fanbase—to make another run at the Super Bowl.
Because quarterbacks aren't remembered for how much money they made. They are remembered for what they accomplished in the NFL. By making his team better, Flacco stands a better chance to add to his own personal legacy.