We have an interesting relationship with our QB. There is clearly a level of trust between Joe Flacco and his agent on one side, and the Ravens front office and ownership on the other side. The contract Joe signed with us has a ridiculous cap hit of $28 million after the 2015 season, a number that would give us trouble keeping our good players if he played at that number. We also can't cut him that offseason because that would leave us with 25M in dead money and no quarterback.
So clearly, there is an understanding that he will let us restructure or extend his contract at that point to make it more feasible from a salary cap standpoint. The question is, would we trust any other player in a similar situation?
I ask because I believe I have found a structure that would enable us to sign Alex Mack, if we want him, and not have Cleveland match the offer. They would likely not match, because it would leave them with a $23 million cap hit in one year, and since he does not want to return to Cleveland, he could just say he would not restructure and it would be really bad for their salary cap management. Cleveland actually did this on a smaller scale with the offer sheet for Andrew Hawkins, making him cost more in the first 2 years of the contract than Cincinnati could afford to spend on him.
This is not included as a Poison Pill, as a poison pill needs to apply differently to different teams, and this contract in it's original form is exactly the same for us as it is for Cleveland. Here is the link to the CBA: the poison pill clause is found in Article 9, Section 3 part E.
Therefore the contract I would offer him, assuming Ozzie were to decide it was a good investment to pay his price, would be structured like this (the numbers are subject to change, based on the exact contract they agree on; potentially they could put even more of the money in year 3, or they could put the big hit into a different year):
6 years – $65 mil total / $18mil SB / $35 mil guaranteed
Yr 1 – $1 mil / $4mil cap hit
Yr 2 – $3 mil / $6 mil cap hit
Yr 3 – $20 mil / $23 mil cap hit ($29 mil dead money)
Yr 4 – $6 mil / $9 mil cap hit ($9 mil deal money)
Yr 5 – $8 mil / $11 mil cap hit ($6 mil dead money) – He might not see this year
Yr 6 – $9 mil / $12 mil cap hit ($3 mil dead money) – He might not see this year
This could be in the end a 4 yr, $48 million deal or a $5 yr, 56 million deal.
Of course it is a risk for us, but we took that risk with Flacco- he MUST restructure in 2 years. So if we really wanted Mack, and he wanted to be here, would you trust him with a similarly structured contract? At the end of the day, the structure is a win-win for us- either we get Mack and cause a big loss for a division rival, or we screw over Cleveland!