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A breakdown of Joe Flacco’s contract, explaining the negotiations and how it looks now

After reading yet another offseason complaint of Joe Flacco’s contract, I’m writing this to hopefully dismiss the negativity of Joe Flacco’s contract, even if the deal is too much. While some say this was, ‘The contract that clipped the wings from Baltimore,’ I’d like to remind them all Flacco hoisted a Lombardi Trophy for the Ravens.

During the end of 2012-2013, the Baltimore Ravens were playing and fighting for a Wildcard spot. During the stretch, Joe Flacco and his agent declined an offer around the ballpark of $90 million. The deal sat around $15m per year. Joe Flacco had the brass to back away from a top dollar deal, believing he was worth more. Both sides had leverage, and he wanted to push his chips all in. If the team faultered, lost the wildcard spot and finished 8-8, no doubt this storyline is different. But this isn’t what happened.

Breaking down the basic negotiations:

1. Joe Flacco was the first franchise quarterback in Baltimore Ravens history

After Trent Dilfer, Kyle Boller and many other embarrassing Ravens quarterbacks, Baltimore found their man. This was to Flacco’s favor, knowing the team needed to secure their first franchise passer.

2. You cannot win in this league without a franchise quarterback

There are always exceptions to the rule, but it’s clear the success in this league comes from teams with stable quarterback play. The team knew they couldn’t let him walk. The only way to win without a quarterback: historically great defense. It’s much easier to find a top half quarterback than 11 men on the opposite side playing to near perfection.

3. The Gamble was for both sides

Joe Flacco and his agent let it ride. The team, rather than continue pressing for a deal, let it ride. When Joe declined a $90 million offer, both sides gambled.

When you pass up ninety million dollars, something I need to type out to demonstrate the seriousness, $90,000,000, the negotiations change. Both sides were all in, and there was no backing out from Flacco’s side.

Flacco proceeded to put on the greatest clinic in Super Bowl history.

4 Games | 73 Completions | 126 Attempts | 57.9% | 1,140 Yds | 11 TD | 0 INT | 117.2 QBR

The stats are near insurmountable. He tied one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history for records. He produced one of the most clutch plays in this century. The Mile High Miracle has its own wikipedia page it’s so astounding.

When you walk away from $90 million, post these numbers against the golden child Andrew Luck & the Colts, the beastly Colorado defense with Peyton Manning quarterbacking, go into New England and conquer Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, then beat the heralded San Francisco defense with four All-Pro linebackers, winning the Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP, you own every single bit of leverage possible.

After the Super Bowl, nobody in football would have let this quarterback of their team walk. The breakout streak of a lifetime. No fan wanted him gone. This left only one option, pay the man. We all were chanting it after the outcome, why do we look now with regret?

The second part of this article wants to show just how much we’ve paid for Flacco, and how it translates with the league. Here is an image from, outlining, “The Richest NFL Players in the U.S. Based on Career Salaries and Bonuses”.

Over the course of their careers, Joe Flacco earned only 2% more than Jay Cutler. Meanwhile, he’s led his team to the postseason, played full seasons, won a Super Bowl and is currently still on a team. In another graphic, it’s quoted, “Jay Cutler’s career earnings of $112,196,087 would take the average NFL player over 52 years to match.”

Looking over the other rich names, you find Tony Romo, Carson Palmer, Matt Ryan, and Phillip Rivers all above Joe. Yes, they’ve played longer and that’s an unfair comparison, but Joe Flacco has led his team to multiple AFC Championship games, and consistently produces for the team in the postseason.

Here is a link to the full study from

Joe’s contract value isn’t crazy. While it is large and he hasn’t played up to the best of expectations, the man earned the deal. The full outline clearly shows the reasoning behind the paychecks, and the comparison to Jay Cutler’s contract sure puts in perspective the cost vs. production.