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What the Baltimore Ravens are going to need to give to Joe Flacco

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With the Ravens about to sit down with Flacco and his agent Joe Linta, what will Ravens have to concede to get what they need?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens need to clear some cap room for the 2016 season, and moving some money from quarterback Joe Flacco's salary would seem to be the easiest way to do so. With the Ravens and Flacco's agent reported to be sitting down this weekend at the combine, I figured a look at what the Ravens would have to offer Flacco to make it happen would make sense.

Brian McFarland of Russell Street Report is the best source for a breakdown of the Ravens cap, so I took a look at what he had to say on the matter. The Ravens want to move money out of 2016, but they cannot just convert some of the 2016 base salary into a bonus, because that would spread it into 2017 and 2018, and the cap hit for 2017 is already a daunting $31 million, higher than in 2016. So pushing money into the last 2 years of the contract is not feasible. The only option this leaves is an extension which moves money out of 2016 and 2017 and spreads it out over the term of the new extension, likely another 2 or 3 years.

What would the Ravens have to give Flacco for him to be amenable to that?

Per McFarland, there are two things the Ravens can dangle before Flacco to get him to sign on the dotted line:

From a money perspective, Flacco would be more than happy to just play out the contract and receive the $58.6M that is still due to him.

So, any enticement from the Ravens will more than likely be driven by one and/or two motives: (1) we need the Cap space to improve the team around you and (2) we’ll be happy to extend the deal and write you a $30M-ish check today.

There’s no doubt that Flacco would likely be amenable to a new deal to accomplish both of those goals, however, figuring out how to reduce Flacco’s 2016 Cap number (basically via a bonus and new base salary) is likely the easiest part of the deal to come to an agreement on.

So how much more money are we talking about?

This deal would be 6 years, for a total of $125M, with a first 3-year payout of $65M. The yearly average of the entire deal would be $20.83M, and would contain $66.4M in new money. That would make the new money average equal $22.13M, thereby topping Rodgers’ 2013 deal.

Again, Flacco is owed $58.6M over the next 3 years of the current deal and if he’s going to top Rodgers’ new money average, then that’s an additional $66M (3 additional years at $22M per year), meaning the total would have to be at least $124.6M. As structured, this deal would give Flacco more in the first 3 years ($65M) than presently scheduled (keep in mind, the Ravens need to give him reasons to want a new deal) and would put him just under Cam Newton’s standard bearing, first 3-year payout of $67.66M.

McFarland thinks a structure like this would make sense for both sides, and create cap room for 2016 and 2017 for the Ravens, keeping the cap numbers relatively flat so the team doesn't end up in the pickle they are in right now:

Total deal: $125M
2016 Signing Bonus – $30M
2017 Option Bonus – $10M
Guaranteed money: $65M ($44M fully guaranteed)

Screenshot 2016-01-14 07.42.19

This deal would be 6 years, for a total of $125M, with a first 3-year payout of $65M. The yearly average of the entire deal would be $20.83M, and would contain $66.4M in new money. That would make the new money average equal $22.13M, thereby topping Rodgers’ 2013 deal.

Hopefully these negotiations will be quick and easy. Both sides know what they want, all they need to do is make the necessary concessions and by next week, the Ravens could be the proud owner of another $8 million in cap space. Quarterback Joe Flacco can be the proud leader of a team with more space in their checkbook to go and improve the roster. As they say, it is win-win!