There’s no justifying it, but it was widely assumed Joe Flacco would probably become the highest paid QB in the league. For next season. That he became the highest paid player in NFL history is nothing short of absurd. In case you haven’t heard, yesterday Joe Flacco signed a 6 year $120.6M contract. Let that sink in.
The saddest part is, Super Bowl or not I couldn’t help but see this coming. You just knew as soon as Flacco said he was not only elite, but at the very least as good as Tom Brady, that the Ravens were going to grossly overpay. Not to this extent though. This contract is just awful.
There’s no denying the man deserved to get paid. What he did in the playoffs was nothing short of amazing. He set a new record for road playoff wins with his sixth in the AFC Championship game in New England. He threw 11 touchdowns to zero interceptions. He had the highest rating of any playoff quarterback at 117.9. That’s an amazing list of accomplishments.
As great a list of accomplishments as that is, they have to be put into context. Firstly, he didn’t play great pass defenses. If you look at the average passing yards per game given up by the four teams he played in the playoffs, they surrendered 227 yards a game. That would have them ranked right below Baltimore somewhere in the neighbourhood of sixteenth or seventeenth in the league. I’m not trying to take away from what he did in the playoffs, just providing context.
He also benefited greatly from an injury to Aqib Talib that essentially paved the way to a Ravens victory in that game. Oh, that and the worst defensive play in the history of the NFL by Rahim Moore to give up a game tying touchdown in Denver to Jacoby Jones. I’d say he got more than a little lucky.
Then there’s the laundry list of negatives that follow Joe Flacco. He is extremely dependent upon Anquan Boldin. A player whose long term future in Baltimore seems just a little less tenable as a result of this deal for the ages. There were multiple occasions, be it in this year or years past, playoffs or regular season, where he would just lob the ball up and have Boldin somehow bring it down between two or three defenders. When it comes to contested balls, there are few better in the game at bringing them down than Anquan Boldin. Maybe as a result of practice? Then there’s the worlds best security blanket in Ray Rice. Or the amazing offensive line they assembled following Cam Cameron’s departure. Much like Alex Smith used to do, he’s just not screwing up in an ideal situation. More than ideal I’d say.
He is also responsible for two of the lowest QBRs in the history of the statistic. They both came last season, one in a 43-13 shellacking at the hands of Houston and another against the Denver Broncos. In Houston he posted a revolting 0.3 QBR and against Denver he raised the bar a little to 0.4.
I guess timing is everything though. He put his contract talks on hold during the season and finished it a Super Bowl champion. The Ravens hands were tied. No letting the Super Bowl MVP walk.
That being said, how much stock should be put in this Super Bowl victory? Or any for that matter? Are Dan Marino and Jim Kelly lesser quarterbacks than Joe Flacco as a result of their post season shortcomings? Not by any stretch of the imagination.
There is just so much wrong in this deal I could go on for days. Be it this offseason as they struggle to keep their mile long list of free agents in town, or any other in the next six years this contract will come back to bite them, well, you know where. In a world of sports media and never ending analysis, commentary etc. Eli Manning has still yet to convince some he’s elite and he has two rings and a much better track record than Flacco. With only his first - in circumstances that would be hard to fail in - he’s convinced the Ravens and many more he’s the best in the world.
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