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What Is Flacco Worth?

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Looking at the current base salaries and what will count against the salary cap in 2013, where should Ravens QB Joe Flacco fit in?

USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco will either get a huge long-term deal or get the team's Franchise Tag placed on him. Either way, he will get a big payday, be it for one year or many. The quarterback position in the NFL is obviously the league;s highest-paid position and after winning Super Bowl XLVII and being named MVP due to a record-setting passing performance, Flacco will deserve to be paid among the top QBs in the game.

The question is, exactly where he is placed in comparison and how much is that worth?

There also is a huge difference between what these players base salaries are and the cap hit on their team, based on how their contracts were configured. For instance, according to Spotrac.com, the player with the highest base salary for 2013 is Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning, at $20 million. However, while his cap hit is the exact same, it is only fourth highest in the NFL, behind New England Patriots QB Tom Brady ($21.8M), New York Giants QB Eli Manning ($20.85M), and Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford ($20.82M).

Brady's base salary is "only" $9.750M in 2013, while Eli and Oakland Raiders QB Carson Palmer's base for the 2013 season are second to Peyton's at $13M.

Flacco certainly deserves more than Palmer, but should he be paid more than either Manning, much less Tom Brady or Drew Brees, whose body of work in their NFL careers dwarf anything that Flacco has done - so far?

Regardless of what deal Joe signs this off season, with a couple of years, most likely it will not be among the top five, with Aaron Rodgers quietly watching as his contract is coming due afterwards.

The Ravens will end up paying a lot for Flacco's recent success, but will try to structure it to not hurt the team as much in cap space as the Franchise Tag would cost them. Many of these QBs on the lists have high average salaries but their base number is a lot lower than the cap hit as they are further along n their deals and most of them had huge up-front signing bonuses but the majority of the balances were back-loaded, and now are coming back to haunt them.

Joe Flacco will get paid and he will deserve every penny. The next question after he signs that deal whenever it may come, will be, will he earn it, especially the latter part of it when the cap hit increases significantly?

The comparison between the 2013 base salaries and the actual cap hit to the teams on Spotrac's website is fascinating and I totally recommend you check it out.