After spending some time looking at this year's salary cap and what the Ravens have going on next season and beyond, something jumped out at me. Joe Flacco's contract is massive in 2016, and the Ravens have little to no leverage in the situation until 2017. Now don't get me wrong, everyone in the world knows the Ravens will not cut Joe Flacco and if they did, there are a number of teams who would line up to sign him up for a ridiculous amount of money. However, the point remains that the Ravens might not have a ton of leverage regardless- 2016 isn't much better than 2015 when it comes to it.
Looking at Spotrac.com, we can see that Flacco has his signing bonus prorated through the 2017 NFL season. At $5.8 million per season, it is a hefty number. 2016 sees Flacco's salary go from the $4 million he is making in 2015 to $18 million, effectively doubling his cap hit to $28.55 million in 2016. Flacco's dead cap would be $25.85 million, meaning that if the Ravens decided to cut him, they would regain less than $3 million than just paying him and keeping him on the roster. That is a large salary to have to eat- it makes sense, but we'll get to that in just a minute.
Before that, let's look at 2017. With a base salary that jumps up to $20.6 million, his overall cap hit would be $31.15 million. However, here is the most interesting part- his dead cap amount would be just $15.3 million. Again, the Ravens won't cut Flacco, but you have to imagine the leverage is significantly greater when you can claim roughly $16 million by waiving a player.
Even without that, there is another reason why this makes sense. In any extension, the team has to work the signing bonus into the deal. If the Ravens rework Flacco's contract at the end of this season, he still has $11.6 million in his signing bonus that has to be worked in. For a contract, that means that his next signing bonus would likely be lower, upping his base salary, which means the Ravens might not get that much of a savings for that long.
If the Ravens can hold off until after the 2016 season, they can hopefully bring his salary back below $10 million for a year and regain roughly $20 million overall in that season. It will definitely relegate the 2016 season to be a tough one with little cap room and relying on players that are already on the roster, but after 2 drafts, the Ravens could restock the cabinet on young talent at a variety of positions and then add in the veteran elements that they have always had a tough time developing.
While we have all been talking in definite terms that Joe Flacco will be redoing his contract at the end of this season, it's not as cut and dry as you would think.