While coach John Harbaugh hits the talk-show circuit in New York on Thursday night, the Ravens are working on getting a deal done with quarterback Joe Flacco coming off his Super Bowl MVP.
“I’m coming away today thinking we can get a deal done,” GM Ozzie Newsome said. “I got a very good owner (Steve Bisciotti). He understands the business. He understands the importance of certain positions. So I’m optimistic. Which tag we’ll use? We don’t know. We’ll be prepared.”
If the Ravens can’t work out a deal with Flacco, they’ll use an exclusive or non-exclusive franchise tag. The first one pulls him off the market and gives the Ravens the sole rights to work out a deal, paying Flacco a one-year salary that’s the average of the top five at his position. That will be about $20.4 million.
The non-exclusive would cost the Ravens about $14.6 million, but any team can negotiate with Flacco. They’d have to give the Ravens two first-round draft picks if he were to leave.
Flacco’s agent, Joe Linta, wants a $100 million deal that is typical for today’s “elites” quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos. He has a $96 million deal.
Newsome doesn't believe his team will be negatively impacted if the talks drag on this summer because the chemistry between Flacco and offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell has been seamless. Newsome and vice president Pat Moriarity will take the lead.
“Joe has a very good relationship with Jim Caldwell. It was amazingly nice to hear how Jim said (Wednesday) in our meeting that any time he would ask Joe to show up, he showed up,” Newsome said. “That relationship is there. Joe and Jim will be able to maintain their relationship while Pat, Joe Linta and I and Steve negotiate a deal. I think that’s huge.”
In the meantime, Harbaugh will be on The Late Show with David Letterman on CBS at 11:30 p.m. ET on Thursday. Flacco went on the show earlier in the week.