Flacco: $20 million man?

Flacco: $20 million man?
January 29, 2013, 1:15 am
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In between Super Bowl trips, Lewis has grown into a legendary leader

Is Joe Flacco the Ravens' $20 million man?

ESPN's John Clayton reported on Monday that Flacco, whose contract expires this season, is expected to seek Drew Brees-type money from the Ravens. Brees signed a five-year, $100 million deal with the Saints this past July, with $40 million guaranteed.

Clayton added that he had heard the price tag for Flacco last offseason was roughly $17 million per year, but it stands to reason that the cost to re-sign Flacco has gone up after he led the Ravens to the Super Bowl.

By not re-signing last year, Flacco "was saying ‘OK, fine, let me play this out.’ " Clayton said on SportsCenter. "Now he’s in a position to make big money. And we’ll see if he can get over Drew Brees’ contract. I think he can.”

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome wouldn't talk about Flacco's contract when asked about it at a pre-Super Bowl news conference last week.

"I’m not discussing that," Newsome said. "You know what? I’ve gone on record – Joe and I have a very good understanding about his contract and where we are. End of story.”

Where they are, in fact, is in a tricky spot. Flacco's contract will expire and he could become a free agent in March. On the one hand, his value has never been higher after leading the Ravens to the Super Bowl. You can bet that Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, will point out that Flacco outplayed both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the playoffs.

On the other hand, the Ravens have the franchise tag in their pocket. But the tag, what would amount to a one-year deal in the neighborhood of $14.6 million, could generate some ill will from Flacco's camp, as Linta is sure to argue that Flacco has earned long-term security and a big payday with his play down the stretch this season.

Either way, the room under the Ravens' salary cap figures to get squeezed big time.

For his part, Flacco has brushed aside the occasional questions about his contract.

"It’s not something I’ve really thought about or really considered,” Flacco said last month. “I knew it wasn’t going to be a topic of conversation during the season and that’s just the way it’s been. I kind of made that clear in my own mind at the beginning of the season.”