Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

01 Mar 2013

Joe Flacco Gets Paid

As first reported by Jay Glazer, Joe Flacco has reportedly reached agreement with the Baltimore Ravens on a contract extension. A source tells Adam Schefter the contract is for 6 years, $120.6 million dollars. Flacco was set to become a free agent when the new league year begins on March 12 unless the Ravens re-signed him or hit him with the franchise tag (the deadline for which is Monday).

Posted by: Tom Gower on 01 Mar 2013

74 comments, Last at 09 Mar 2013, 4:24pm by Bright Blue Shorts

Comments

1
by cisforcookie (not verified) :: Fri, 03/01/2013 - 10:03pm

but he just wins!

3
by jklps :: Fri, 03/01/2013 - 10:16pm

Wow, I didn't know all of Baltimore could post their thought in one short sentence so quickly!

2
by justanothersteve :: Fri, 03/01/2013 - 10:10pm

Now we know the starting point for the upcoming Aaron Rodgers negotiations.

14
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 6:09am

Only in the "Rodgers is worth double what Flacco is getting"-sense.

4
by reardonmetal :: Fri, 03/01/2013 - 10:19pm

let's see how much he wins when they're unable to sign any of their free agents and they're cutting players to get under the cap and keep Flacco. I really can't believe how bad this contract is. I'll have to see the guarantees to judge if it's merely bad, or off the charts horrendous. Assuming 60MM signing bonus (50% of total contract is what Brees got last year in guarantees), that means 12MM across 5 on the signing bonus vs. the cap and then however much salary they put on each year. With Ray Rice being 6 or so v. the cap and with tons of dead money, those two better preform next year.

32
by RickD :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 6:09pm

For Ray Rice to perform, he has to have an offense that lets him perform. Cam Cameron seemed to think that Rice shouldn't get many carries. After roughly 300 carries per season the previous two years, Rice had only 257 last season. We'll see how much Jim Caldwell uses him this coming season.

As for Flacco, if his elevation in play level during the playoffs somehow sticks, then this is a good deal. Somehow I'm doubting that. His regular season numbers from 2012 had him place between Sam Bradford and Carson Palmer on the FO stats list.

61
by Lance :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 2:36am

Except according to reports he's only counting $6.8 million this year. So it's entirely likely that they sign some key players. That said, I don't know how they're making their money work and NFL contracts are now so complicated (and discussed in the news without any real specifics) that it's hard for average fans to know what's really going on.

USA Today says:

"The guaranteed portion of quarterback Joe Flacco's record-setting, $120.6 million, six-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens is worth $52 million, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports on Sunday...

The deal will count $6.8 million against the Ravens' $123-million salary cap this season, and Flacco will receive $62 million for the first three years of the deal and $51 million for the first two years, the person said."

Guaranteed money is always said to be spread out over the length of the contract (6 years in this case). But $52 million over 6 years is way mote than $6.8 no matter how you slice it. So there must be some nuance to that rule that we are missing. The non-guaranteed money must be back-loaded to a great degree so that the Ravens will be negotiating 4 or 5 years from now instead of taking the $20+ million cap hit that will no doubt come about at that point.

62
by Jerry :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 5:56am

Just working from your post and what I remember about cap rules:

Signing bonuses are amortized for cap purposes over the length of the contract. So the Ravens can give Flacco a $30M signing bonus right now (a number I'm making up) that's $5M/year for cap purposes. That leaves a salary of $1.8M this year. There are limits to how much salaries can fluctuate, so let's assume that the salaries for the second and third years add up to another $6M. There could then be bonuses for those two years of $13M in year two and $11M in year three. If the salaries and all but $5M of each year's bonus are guaranteed, that adds up to about $62M in the first three years, $52M of which is guaranteed. Of course, they can agree to convert either later bonus to a signing bonus that would then be spread out over the rest of the contract for cap purposes. Like I said, I'm making up specific numbers, but this is the kind of structure that will satisfy the report.

5
by unverified (not verified) :: Fri, 03/01/2013 - 10:30pm

Seems like an awful lot of money for a good but not great QB. Although it dos depend how much is guaranteed and how much count sto the cap and how/when it can be restructured. So I guess I have no idea if Baltimore overpaid or not. The joys of NFL contract details/economics.

9
by jonnyblazin :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 12:03am

Flacco has been good so far, but I'm guessing the front office is assuming he's turned the corner. Cam Cameron may have been holding the offense back. And Flacco has definitely outperformed Eli Manning over the first 5 years of their careers, its possible he goes through an Eli-esque transformation. I'd think the Ravens believe they are getting a very good QB who is weather proof, very durable, and good in clutch situations.

6
by theslothook :: Fri, 03/01/2013 - 10:45pm

Wow, that 4 games probably made him 40 million extra bucks. I'm curious what the first thing he did or is going to do after signing the dotted line.

8
by jonnyblazin :: Fri, 03/01/2013 - 11:57pm

Flacco turned down a deal worth $16.5 million per year last offseason. He knew he was going to get paid regardless. If the Ravens wanted to keep him they either had to use the exclusive franchise tag (about $20 mil for 1 season) or pay him what he wanted. If he hit the open market, either the Browns, Jags, Cards, or some other team would have given him at least this much.

58
by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 12:25am

This may be the contract that proves one way or the other whether it is possibly to overpay for a franchise quarterback. Flacco is an average NFL starter, in any given year. Which is to say that he isn't as good as the good quarterbacks (Rivers, E. Manning, Roethlisberger) and can't see Peyton or Aaron even on a good day from his completion percentage.

But he means that you never have to consider signing Derek Anderson. And in today's NFL, maybe that's worth $20M a year.

71
by Ryan D. :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 9:16am

He went to McDonald's.

No, really...

(EDIT - The spam filter won't let me link to the ESPN article)

7
by jonnyblazin :: Fri, 03/01/2013 - 11:53pm

It remains to be seen if Flacco was just hot over the playoffs or whether he turned the corner. But it is certainly possible Cam Cameron was holding him back. With the deal in place the Ravens can likely retain McKinnie and Boldin, so they can keep most the offense that made the run intact (maybe they'll cut either Leach or Jones though).

Flacco may have an Eli-esque transformation, after Eli's super bowl run he turned from an average QB to very good during the regular season. Flacco's numbers his first 5 years are actually superior to Eli's.

10
by theslothook :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 1:40am

The trouble as I see it is...Flacco is being paid like an elite type qb. Can he compensate for weaknesses like an elite type qb can? For whatever reason, this post season he did. Absolutely. But is that flacco's real true ability or just a small sample blip? we'll find out. That said, this deal could very well knee cap the ravens going forward - a team historically that has always been built on depth rather than top heaviness.

21
by jonnyblazin :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 11:34am

His overall numbers for 2012 including the post season were 7.54 Y/A and 33 TDs to 10 INTs, which is pretty good. There's no need to separate the numbers.

I actually think that the Ravens have always been top heavy, they invest in the very good players they draft and let the average ones walk. Ozzie Newsome can usually find good replacements in the draft, which is the cheapest way to acquire depth.

31
by theslothook :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 4:36pm

I always think of the ravens as a team built far more on depth than stars. Pretty solidly maned across the roster with good depth. Much of their defense, in fact, is all about having no real weaknesses. This held true for the corners(especially after their star cb webb was out for the year), their linebackers, their d line(which, with suggs hurt, had only one real star on it in Ngata). The o line features a pretty solid collection of players and one star(yanda), the receiving core, even their running back position is all built on depth and quality, not elite star power the way I'd say a team like the packers are. That team has a few stars trying to pull the rest of a rather mediocre roster.

11
by Duff Soviet Union :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 1:52am

I've made this comparison before, but Flacco reminds me of Jake Delhomme 2003. Average-ish, inconsistent deep chuckers who got ridiculously hot for a few nationally televised games in a row. Carolina spent the next 5 years telling themselves that how Jake performed in these games was the "real" Jake Delhomme despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. It looks like history is about to repeat itself. At least the Ravens actually won the Super Bowl though.

20
by jonnyblazin :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 11:28am

Delhomme had started 2 games prior to 2003. Flacco has 5 full years. And for the regular season Flacco's stats for his first 5 years are better than Eli Manning, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady.

24
by GreenLantern (not verified) :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 12:49pm

Flacco wasn't better than Brady over his first 5 regular seasons. Brady had a higher completion % (62% vs 60.5%), a better QB rating, the same adjusted YPA, and got sacked less often. (And, if you believe this factor matters, he also won 4 more regular season gms despite not starting right at the beginning of 2001.)

27
by Cro-Mags :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 1:54pm

I don't know if comparing the passing numbers under the rules of Brady's early career are apples-to-apples to post-2004 PI "re-emphasis", among others. QB records seem to be rewritten quite regularly now, and game is way more passer friendly. Everyone's numbers are better now.

28
by Ben Stuplisberger :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 3:13pm

Neat list... First five years, at least 1000 attempts, advanced passing NY/A, 2000-2012

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=...

34
by fb29 :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 7:36pm

Based on this the Falcons need to pay Matt Ryan 8% more than Flacco. Maybe we get a no Super Bowl discount.

69
by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 6:24pm

Interesting. Tied for #2 in most touchdowns over the first five years of a career over this span: Ladies and Gentlemen, your Aaron Brooks.

40
by jonnyblazin :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 11:52pm

I'll agree that maybe Flacco hasn't been as good as Brady over the first five years, but from a purely statistical standpoint, its close. (And by my count, Flacco has 6 more regular season wins than Brady in the first 5 years). Going from the list:

Flacco:
Y/A: 7.08
AY/A: 6.89
ANY/A: 5.98
TD/INT: 1.82
Comp %: 60.5

Brady:
Y/A: 6.9
AY/A: 6.7
ANY: 5.93
TD/INT: 1.865
Comp %: 61.6

Of course it is true that Brady played in a less friendly passing environment. But my general point is that Brady didn't become a really good regular season QB until age 27/28. Flacco just turned 28. Same is true for Brees and Eli. Given that Flacco was considered a project coming out of college, it wouldn't be that surprising if he becomes a top-8 QB as he's entering his prime.

59
by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 12:30am

Comparing the first half of the 2000s to the first half of the 2010s in passing statistics is not apples to apples.

73
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Wed, 03/06/2013 - 4:12pm

Brady's first 5 years also had significantly tougher passing rules. Like DBs that could actually touch WRs.

44
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sun, 03/03/2013 - 12:29pm

What do you think of Roethlisberger?

Because post-2003, Delhomme was on a Roethlisberger trajectory for the next four years. He wasn't nearly as bad as you think.

12
by TheSlinger :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 4:59am

I understand that they had no choice but to pay him, but what's the over/under date on this contract looking terrible? Like week 8?

13
by mehlLageman56 (not verified) :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 5:13am

Time to start rooting for the Bengals.

15
by Karl Cuba :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 7:12am

Quarterback salaries seem to be continuing to increase at the rate they grew at under the old CBA. I wonder how sustainable it is to be paying one player a sixth of your total cap. Is there a stage when having a great qb just isn't worth it?

16
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 7:42am

Well obviously there is. It's actually pretty interesting to figure out how close to 100% the limit is.

17
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 8:21am

And the even bigger question is ... should you be paying 1/6th of your total cap to a QB who isn't even great?

I'd really want to see the details of this deal ... because Flacco's ego demanded being paid as the #1 QB in history (which he clearly isn't) but with clever structuring you can maybe write it so that he is. My suspicion given that they're not giving a breakdown is that this is exactly what's happened.

18
by Karl Cuba :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 9:30am

Well I'm more interested in the theoretical angle than the specifics of Flacco's deal, largely because Kaepernick has two years on his rookie deal and if he plays like he did last year (or gets any better) then he could ask for $20million as well. I'm just not sure it would be worth it.

19
by Insancipitory :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 10:51am

A team has everything but QB and O-line they're the Cardinals. If they have the O-line too, Bills, with a ceiling of the Vikings. It's not that we know Flacco is that good, it's that we know he's not terrible.

30
by theslothook :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 4:26pm

Well Karl, the real issue you're running into his how to time plays into things. The easiest way to keep getting into the playoffs is with an elite qb. Even teams with good talent outside the qb are never guaranteed repeat playoff births and often times, its hard to keep everyone on the team paid and playing at the same level. I always go back to Peyton for this. How talented were the colts for the majority of their run? They basically were built on peyton, the wide receivers, and 2 pass rushers. Essentially, a collection of 5-6 players. The colts may have been a bit of a let down given they "only" won once, but did keep getting into the tourney.

64
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 1:08pm

Very true. As a Colts fan, I always approved of this strategy. Fans and pundits always have some idea that "you can't win a Super Bowl without ". It's almost always baloney. Just get in the playoffs and see what happens.

22
by CoachDave :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 12:27pm

We think it's a great move, congrats Joe and the Baltimore Ravens.

Sincerely,

Players, Coaches, Front Office and Fans of the other 31 teams

25
by GreenLantern (not verified) :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 12:58pm

I'm guessing certain front offices (Packers come to mind) don't think this is such a great move.

23
by BKM (not verified) :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 12:38pm

Winning the Super Bowl is worth it.

33
by LionInAZ :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 7:21pm

Not if it results in your missing the playoffs the next five years because you can't afford to rebuild your defense.

Of course, we haven't seen what the actual guaranteed amount is yet, but the Ravens should have just franchised Flacco.

36
by Dean :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 7:43pm

As a Lions fan, are you seriously telling us that if over the next six years, you could have 1 Super Bowl Championship followed by 5 years out of the playoffs, you wouldn't take that deal?

42
by the K :: Sun, 03/03/2013 - 5:21am

As a Bills fan, I'm telling you I'd jump at that deal.

52
by Dean :: Sun, 03/03/2013 - 9:09pm

I suspect that just about any Bills, Eagles, Lions, Cardinals, Browns, Bengals, Vikings, or Jest fans would jump at that chance the same as you would. Apparently not all of them, but most anyway.

48
by LionInAZ :: Sun, 03/03/2013 - 4:40pm

As a Lions fan, I have higher expectations than that. We saw enough of that during the Barry Sanders years -- one trip to the NFC championship and a lot of disappointing seasons.

If that kind of performance was really acceptable, Jim Caldwell would still be head coach in Indy. And unlike the Lions, the Ravens have been in the playoffs on a very regular basis. If they start missing the playoffs more often than not, Mr Harbaugh and Mr Newsome will be sitting on very hot seats.

51
by Dean :: Sun, 03/03/2013 - 9:07pm

I didn't say a trip to the playoffs or to the championship game. Or even a Super Bowl appearance. I said a championship. Confetti. Champagne. Some guy in powder blue crying over the trophy. Middle aged fat guys holding up signs saying "now I can die in peace." Absurd debates over the "eliteness" of Matt Stafford. An irrational Stafford vs Ryan comment thread. The City of Detroit trying to figure out where they can safely hold a parade. All of it.

Senior Citizens in Detroit have gone their entire adult lives without having seen such a thing.

You are seriously going to say with a straight face that all of that redemption, all of that vindication, all of that unabashed joy - all of it isn't worth it if you have to follow it with 5 losing years?

I'm not going to call you a liar but I won't pretend to understand.

55
by Ben Stuplisberger :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 12:04am

Anywhere in Midtown or Downtown is safe. Detroit's rep is not what Detroit is.

68
by JimZipCode :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 4:17pm

Also if it's Detroit, we're talking about one Super Bowl year and then 5 normal Detroit years. Possibly even better-than-normal years: 7-9 rather than 4-12, say.

45
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sun, 03/03/2013 - 12:32pm

Haven't the Saints and Patriots proven you can regularly make the playoffs and attend Super Bowls without bothering to sign any defensive players?

47
by LionInAZ :: Sun, 03/03/2013 - 4:37pm

The Saints and Patriots have had much better QBing and much better offense personnel than the Ravens.
The Ravens have been riding on their defense for years, and I don't believe they'll suddenly become a high-flying offense just because they signed Flacco to a big contract.

60
by td (not verified) :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 1:08am

the offense absolutely deserves credit for the the year the Ravens actually won the Super Bowl- they were better than the d in the regular season, and they carried the team in the denver and san francisco wins. the d could be credittd for the new england win, but don't the patriots flame out on offense once every postseason?

50
by theslothook :: Sun, 03/03/2013 - 8:44pm

That's funny, I thought the saints proved that their are limits to how much your offense can carry a lousy/horrendous defense.

And btw, the saints did sign ppl in free agency. They went after jabari greer, they went after darren sharper, and they've paid people like abrayu franklin and drafted on defense most of the time(aside from meachem and Ingram).

As for the pats, their d was truly terrible only once in their run(last year). This year's d was average and the last few years before its been ok to good.

I think the moral of the story is, if you are in a pathetic division, you can afford to be ridiculously disproportionate. If not, you have to have some kind of balance.

26
by cisforcookie (not verified) :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 1:26pm

I really wonder what this contract will look like in 3-4 years. it seems like every time an elite qb gets paid we go "holy crap that's insane" and then a few years later it's like "man, what a bargain he is." wikipedia has a chart (on the salary cap page) showing past salary caps, and it looks like over the last 8 years the salary cap has increased 50 percent. over the 8 years before that, it doubled. but if we look just at post-recession (2009 onward) data, the salary cap has basically been stagnant. is revenue growth for the nfl relatively diminishing? and is that going to lead to cap-catastrophe in the next few years as current market contracts blow up on teams?

35
by fb29 :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 7:38pm

you mean a capastrophe?

38
by Ben Stuplisberger :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 9:12pm

We need a like button.

29
by asdf (not verified) :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 4:18pm

Because of the nature of the CBA the cap has stay stagnant but is set to jump massively in the future. During the early years of the contract it will be a lot and in the later years of the contract it will not be a lot. Which matches up with before and after 30 years for Flacco. Makes a lot of sense.

Flacco has proven that with a good left tackle he can be elite and justify the contract.

37
by DEW (not verified) :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 8:20pm

I'm not really sure I see what all the complaining is about. Flacco isn't as good as Rodgers, Brady, Peyton Manning, and Big Ben, and probably not Matt Ryan or Eli, but I wouldn't be willing to say anyone else is definitely better than he is, either because they don't have the body of work (Kapernick, Wilson) or haven't shown necessarily better results (Schaub, Stafford, Cutler) or have been in decline (Rivers, Palmer). He's been steadily above-average, durable, and there's the bonus of having been the guy who already has worked in the offense and with the coach, so that's an added benefit. Sure, he could snap his leg next week and be done, but barring something like that, why would Baltimore not take the step of locking him up? And as several people have already observed, QB contracts are only going to get more ridiculous. So, while GB and ATL front offices don't want to see this deal, Baltimore fans ought to be happy.

41
by DEW (not verified) :: Sun, 03/03/2013 - 2:41am

...Damn, forgot Brees while making the list.

39
by Jim C. (not verified) :: Sat, 03/02/2013 - 11:11pm

I'll say two things:

1. Every GM in the NFL would have made that deal if they were in Ozzie Newsome's shoes.

2. Betting against Ozzie Newsome is a very poor proposition.

43
by cisforcookie (not verified) :: Sun, 03/03/2013 - 11:28am

as for 2, I often think that the most meaningfully positive thing I can say about ozzie newsome is that he is completely risk averse. nobody ever says "wow the ravens reached on that pick." nobody ever says "the ravens look to be active in free agency." nobody ever says "boy they sure regret giving him that contract."

he's a counterpuncher. and he just waits for other teams to make mistakes (often by having cap trouble and being unable to re-sign older/less visible players with real talent) and punishes them for it by doing the most boring, predictable thing possible. I could probably write a turing machine for ozzie that most people wouldn't be able to tell from the real thing.

49
by jonnyblazin :: Sun, 03/03/2013 - 7:06pm

He's also arguably the best drafting GM in the league. Ravens fans have been bored with constantly getting a solid influx of talent year after year.

He doesn't sign free agents because he ties up all the money in resigning the great players he drafts. If other teams drafted as well as he did they wouldn't bother signing FAs either. The Steelers used to be like this but they made some bad investments recently.

65
by Dice :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 2:39pm

The Ravens sign FAs too. But they sign them to complement the rest of the team, not to be a savior or to put butts in the seats. Ozzie doesn't go on signing sprees like the 'Skins did under Vinny Cerrato, instead, he brings in talented guys that can't seem to break through(Chris Carr a few years back, Ayanbedejo, Corey Graham) as starters but they'll get a legit chance. Carr and Ayanbedejo were/are overmatched, but guys like Graham and Pollard have been key contributors. Would love to see them grab a tackle, a linebacker and maybe reach for Tyrann Mathieu this draft.

46
by RC (not verified) :: Sun, 03/03/2013 - 3:08pm

Its funny, people were just bitching last week about Brady's 3 year, 27M extension (5 years/60M total), and about how he wasn't really "getting below market"

66
by Jimmy :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 2:40pm

If Brady plays the last three years of his current deal then yes, it is below market. If he doesn't then it isn't really. Not considering that he was already under contract.

53
by Dean :: Sun, 03/03/2013 - 9:10pm

In 3 years, if Flacco continues to perform at roughly the same level he's performing at now, this deal will be a bargain.

54
by theslothook :: Sun, 03/03/2013 - 10:33pm

Considering his regular season metrics placed him somewhere in the 10-15 range, I'm pretty sure if Flacco doesn't get any better, he will be considered grossly overpaid. This contract is so huge, I could only see it being justified if flacco was coming off some haymaker record season for a qb. Ie- Manning 04, Brady 07, or Rodgers 2011. Flacco had an awesome post season, but really, are we just going to assume that flacco's postseason is the real norm and we can expect that level of brilliance from now on? I personally doubt it.

56
by Anonymous05 (not verified) :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 12:15am

Flacco has earned this contract. He'll also make "the leap" this year. In the 2006 FO Almanac (or whatever FO's book was called then), there was an article about QBs development. QBs have their biggest jump from year 1 to year 2 and then their stats even out a bit until year 5/6 (when they turn 28), when they have their second biggest jump in effectivness/stats. This research is bourne out by looking at Brady's, Brees's, both Mannings, Roethlisberger, etc. Flacco's stats have been slighly above average. I think they'll go to the top 5 range going forward for the next 5 years.

57
by theslothook :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 12:23am

Your rationale has a massive survivorship bias potential to it. I'm not saying flacco will definitely fall short, but the examples you're citing are the one's who survived, while the others that fell short never continued to play long enough for their careers to be remembered.

I hate ranking qbs in a traditional sense, so I'd rather just say, which qbs are truly in the elite category. By that i mean, year in and year out, they field an elite passing game. Will flacco be apart of that? I doubt it and I think he's still got a ways to go to reaching that tier. And sorry, but his salary suggests that thats the standard we hold him to.

63
by nat :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 12:59pm

From nfl.com:
» $29 million signing bonus
» $29 million cap number in Year 4
» $30 million in Year 1
» $51 million through Year 2
» $62 million through Year 3
» $80 million through Year 4
» $100.6 million through Year 5
Option bonuses of $15 million and $7 million are also part of the contract.

So one possibility:
Year 1: $29M signing bonus + $1M guaranteed
Year 2: $21M - possibly a $15M option bonus + $6M other
Year 3: $11M - possibly a $7M option bonus + $4M other

That gives the reported $52 guaranteed (assuming the option bonuses are effectively guaranteed) and $62M total through year 3.

Year 4: $18M new cash + $11M additional pro-rated cap hit

Here I'm guessing: $29M pro-rated over 5 years is $5.8M, which fits the reported year 1 cap hit. 5 years is the limit for pro-rating a bonus, I understand. Add in a $15M/4 years and $7M/3 years and you get a bit more than $11M cap hit.

That leaves $20.6 new cash for year 5 and $20M new cash for year six.

Given the projected cap hits in year four and beyond, this looks like a three year / $62 million deal with a lot of cap incentive to come to a new agreement before year four. If they part ways before year 4, the Ravens spend a year in cap hell with a placeholder QB, and then move on. In effect, they've traded a few good years with a nice cap situation and Flacco as QB for a potential year in cap purgatory, which they can push off a few years when they renegotiate.

I have no idea whether my guesses are right or even fit within the salary cap rules. But they may be close enough.

67
by Sgood (not verified) :: Mon, 03/04/2013 - 3:42pm

Thanks Nat. This is a great post.

70
by Jerry :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 4:22am

From this layman's point of view, this breakdown sounds about right. Nicely done.

72
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Tue, 03/05/2013 - 1:18pm

Weird thought -- the 2012 salary cap was 120.6 million. Coincidence, or did Flacco's people push for this number for some symbolic reason? Some train of thought like "I'm so elite, I'm worth 100% of the salary cap".

74
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 03/09/2013 - 4:24pm

Apparently Anquan Boldin refusing to take a pay cut on his contract so he's becoming a free agent.

Will be interesting to see how it affects Flacco's performance in the future without his go to receiver. But then if you overpay your Super Bowl winning QB expect other players on the team to expect to get paid their share too.