For the first time since August 2012, the Baltimore Ravens will meet face-to-face with Joe Flacco's agent, Joe Linta. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the two sides will meet this week in Indianapolis, as both sides work towards a long-term contract for the Super Bowl XLVII MVP.
The Ravens and Flacco were unable to come to a long-term agreement headed into the 2012 season, and instead let the quarterback play out the 2012 season as a contract year. For Flacco, the gamble paid off, as the former Delaware quarterback enjoyed a very good regular season, completing 59.7% of his passes for 3,817 yards and 22 touchdowns.
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Flacco really earned his money during the playoffs, leading Baltimore to its second Super Bowl title in franchise history. Flacco threw 11 touchdowns in four playoff games without throwing an interception, and led the Ravens to upset wins over the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers.
Now in late February, the Ravens will attempt to lock up their franchise quarterback to a long-term deal. If the two sides are unable to agree on a long-term contract, the Ravens will certainly use the franchise tag on Flacco, preventing him from testing the free agent market.
Franchising Flacco would be expensive, however, and the Ravens will certainly try to avoid resorting to such a measure. If the Ravens use the non-exclusive franchise tag, Flacco will earn $14.6 million dollars in 2013. By using the cheaper (non-exclusive) tag, the Ravens would run the risk of losing Flacco to another team. The non-exclusive tag allows players to negotiate with other teams, but the original team (Baltimore) would have the option to match any offer on the market. If the Ravens, in this case, opted against matching an offer, they would receive two first-round draft choices as compensation.
If the Ravens place the exclusive franchise tag on Flacco, then the quarterback would likely earn $20.46 million dollars in 2013 -- but the exact number won't be known until Apr. 19.
Both the Ravens and Flacco gambled in 2012 -- and Flacco's gamble paid off. Now the Ravens have to pay Flacco like one of the league's best quarterbacks, or be forced to use the very expensive franchise tag as a one-year band aid.