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Are Joe Flacco and his new mega-contract to blame for the loss of key players this off-season?
Ever since free agency started we have heard nothing but blame thrown around at everyone in the Ravens organization with a lot directed unfairly at Joe Flacco. Many casual fans look at the contract Joe received, a 6 year $120 million deal through the 2018 season, and lay the blame at Joe’s feet for the roster turnover experienced. Is that contract a ton of money? Sure, but that’s not the reason for the roster turnover. The salary cap for the 2013 season was raised to $123 million, up $2.4 million from the previous year. Joe Flacco makes an average of just over $20 million a year but that’s not how the salary cap works. This is the breakdown of salary cap hits from Joe’s contract:
In the 2013 season the salary cap hit from Joe’s new contract is only $6.8 million which is actually lower than the $8 million cap hit he carried last season. Anquan Boldin’s contract ran through the end of the 2013 season so blaming Joe and his contract for his departure is silly. We cannot blame his contract for the loss of Paul Kruger or Dannell Ellerbe either because both were severely overpaid. I loved the way both played this past season but both players lacked the history of great performance to demand such a high contract.
This upcoming season the two highest cap hits the Ravens carry are on the defensive line. Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata carry a $13,020,000 and $11,500,000 cap hit respectively. That is 20% of the salary cap tied into two players who have had trouble staying healthy and performing at high levels recently. Going forward Joe’s contract may present a problem with the salary cap, but this season his contract is very cap friendly.
It is safe to say though that this deal is a three year deal that will end up being restructured after the 2015 season to bring the cap hit the contract carries down to a reasonable level. The front office trio of Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta, and Pat Moriarty has done an excellent job of fielding a team that constantly competes and conforms to the NFL salary cap. Why would we begin to question their knowledge and abilities now? Do they have some work to do to find key pieces to next season’s team and work around the salary cap? Yes. But is it fair to blame Joe Flacco and his $120 million contract? Absolutely not!