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Joe Flacco Could Reportedly Become Highest-Paid Player in NFL History

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2013

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco may be on the precipice of truly understanding and appreciating the phrase "timing is everything." ESPN's Adam Schefter gave an update on the status of the Super Bowl MVP's contract negotiations on SportsCenter Thursday night.

What he said may rock the NFL's salary structure to its core:

"If (the deal with the Ravens) does get done, it will make Joe Flacco the highest-paid player in NFL history," Schefter said (via ESPN's Jamison Hensley).

What is unclear, however, is what Schefter exactly means by highest-paid player in league history. It could mean that he's on the precipice of signing the richest per-year contract in history, or simply that his overall potential income over the life of the deal could exceed all previous contracts.

Either way, it looks like the Ravens are on the precipice of making Flacco an extremely wealthy man. 

These contractual negotiations signify a massive paradigm shift in Flacco's career. In leading the Ravens to a 10-6 regular-season record this past year, Flacco looked every bit like the slightly-above-replacement-level quarterback he had been throughout his career. He threw for 3,817 yards and 22 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, which aren't bad numbers by any stretch.

However, Flacco's resume cratered under the weight of advanced metrics. ESPN's QBR measurement had him as the 25th-best qualifying quarterback last season, and he rated out below replacement level in Football Outsiders' DVOA metric.

Then the light switched on for the postseason, where Flacco had one of the best performances in league history. Over the span of four games, he threw for 1,140 yards and 11 touchdowns without an interception in 126 pass attempts. Flacco won the Super Bowl MVP by defanging a ferocious 49ers defense, completing 22 of 33 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns in the Ravens' thrilling championship victory.

It was a four-game stretch that validated his own claims (and good teammate's) that he's the best quarterback in the NFL. If Schefter's report is accurate, it looks like the Ravens are preparing to pay him like it—and then some.

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