The Baltimore Ravens and quarterback Joe Flacco have agreed to a new 3-year contract extension that will save the team salary cap space but will also have a lasting impact on the league for years.
The 3-year extension is worth $66.4 million, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, and includes a NFL-record $40 million signing bonus.
The signing bonus will help open up some cap space for the Ravens. With the new contract, Flacco would have counted as $28.6 million against the 2016 salary cap. With the new deal, Flacco’s cap hit in 2016 will be reduced to $22.6 million.
However, that comes at a cost for the Ravens.
Flacco originally signed a 6-year, $120.6 million contract with the Ravens after winning the Super Bowl during the 2012 season. There were three years and $58.6 million left on that deal. The new extension adds three more years and $66.4 million to that deal, meaning he now has six years and $125 million left on his contract. Of that, he will receive $44 million this year.
In other words, Flacco’s 2013 contract is now a 9-year, $187 million deal with six years remaining.
Granted, three of the years on the contract have already been paid. But this deal has already guaranteed Flacco will be paid $106 million in the first four years. It also demolishes Jay Cutler’s record for largest face-value (total potential value) for a contract in the NFL. That deal, signed prior to the 2014 season, was a 7-year contract worth $126.7 million.
While Flacco’s deal seems outrageous, there are two factors at play here: 1) the Ravens backed themselves into the corner with the original contract that left them no choice but to renegotiate it now; and 2) with the rising salary cap in the NFL, the dearth of elite quarterbacks, and others playing well into their late-30s, there is a chance that this contract will seem reasonable down the road. However, until then, this contract is leaving a lot of people with their mouths wide open.
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