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Late For Work 2/6: Agent: Flacco Should Be NFL's Highest-Paid Quarterback

Posted Feb 6, 2013

Ravens free agents set to get paid, behind the fourth-down play call, repeat chances.


Agent: Flacco Should Be Highest-Paid QB

Let the negotiations begin …

Immediately after being named Super Bowl XLVII MVP, everybody knew Joe Flacco was going to get some serious money from the Ravens this offseason.

But how much?

Flacco’s agent, Joe Linta, was asked whether he thought his client should be the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback during an interview with CNBC.

He simply responded, “Yes.”

To be fair, what else is a player’s agent going to say? He’s not going to say, “No, my guy deserves less.” Still, it tells you that Flacco’s team is definitely going to be shooting high – very high. Whether they get that kind of money is another story.

Flacco, 28, is younger than Peyton Manning ($18 million/year) and Drew Brees ($20 million), and now has as many Super Bowl titles as each of them. Linta said those are the numbers that matter.

"When you do a contract of this magnitude, you look at what is the player's body of work presently," Linta told CNBC. "And what are the expectations going forward over the next four, five or six years.

"Joe wins on both accounts."

It could take time to get a deal of that size done, however. So as many before have said, Pro Football Talk’s Curtis Crabtree sees the franchise tag coming Flacco’s way by the March 4 deadline. The franchise tag alone would likely cost $20 million a year, Crabtree said.

Linta talks about how Flacco doesn’t live high on the hog and how his rookie contract has probably already “set him for life.” So it doesn’t seem that Flacco is really out for the money.

“He really disdains selling himself for these endorsements,” Linta said. “He just doesn’t really want to do it. … He’s a normal person who's hit fame and fortune.”

Ravens Free Agents To Get Paid

Flacco isn’t the only Ravens free agent that’s going to see some green this offseason.

Former Indianapolis Colts general manager turned ESPN insider Bill Polian broke down the 2013 free-agent class into A, B and C players.

A players are ones who Polian says are worth paying big, starter-caliber money. B players are players he would sign but only if the value made sense. C players are ones he would sign for low-salary, short-term (one or two years) value, with low bonuses.

Trouble for Baltimore is it has a number of A players. So that means they likely all (or few) will not be able to stay with the Ravens.

Polian lists Flacco, outside linebacker Paul Kruger, cornerback Cary Williams and safety Ed Reed among the top tier. Here are his thoughts on all of them:

Flacco: “I would assume he will be franchised or reach a long-term agreement with the Ravens. He definitely deserves top-tier money, however; he has proved that much. Flacco is streaky, but when he's on, he can win for you. This past postseason has shown exactly that.”

Kruger: “An outside pass-rusher, Kruger can play OLB or DE. He is coming off his rookie contract and really came into his own this season. He's become a very efficient pass-rusher, and there is a market for a player like that.”

Williams: “Williams is a very good man-to-man corner who stepped in for Lardarius Webb and outpaced expectations with the Ravens. He's probably low A, but because of his good year, I think he'll be able to cash in and get A-level money.”

Reed: “For years, Reed has been the best safety in the NFL, unconventional as he might be. His instincts are unparalleled, but age is a concern at this stage of the game, and I'm not sure whether there's a long-term deal out there for him. He probably will go back to Baltimore, but I've seen some rumors mention New England. That's a possibility.”

Speaking of Reed, CBS Sports Senior Columnist Clark Judge has some advice for the safety. Follow Ray Lewis, he says.

“I don't mean retire,” Judge wrote. “Reed insists he wants to keep playing, and that's fine. No, I mean follow Ray Lewis's lead when he was in the same situation following the 2008 season. An unrestricted free agent, he tested the market, flirted with Dallas, generated moderate interest, then made one of the most important -- and smartest -- decisions of his pro football career.

“He stayed where he was.”

Who Is Going Back Next Year?

The dust hasn’t even settled on the Lombardi Trophy and pundits are already discounting the Ravens’ chances of making it back next year.

ESPN guru John Clayton put together his list and doesn’t have the Ravens on his top 5 contenders. Five NFL Network’s analysts also took a shot at predicting the Ravens’ future. ESPN’s Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith put out their top five Super Bowl XLVIII favorites.

What’s interesting is that Bayless (a longtime Flacco basher) is actually the one sticking up for the Ravens while Smith doesn’t put Baltimore in his top five.

“I believe one of the most difficult things to do in sports is repeating as Super Bowl champion,” Smith said.

“All guns are blazing in their direction. I think Flacco is big time, I think they are big time. But not to repeat. I think their number will be called. The year after next I think they’ll be back. But I think they’ll stumble just a touch come postseason time next year.”

Also, NFL Live’s Tim Hasselbeck and Eric Mangini both believe the 49ers have a better shot at getting back to the Super Bowl than the Ravens next year.

The Story Behind The Fourth-Down Play Call

Five years ago, when he was the New England Patriots defensive coordinator in the Super Bowl, Dean Pees called the blitz “Cable” in the waning seconds.

Back then, the Patriots held a four-point lead on the New York Giants. That changed on the play, as Giants receiver Plaxico Burress beat cornerback Ellis Hobbs for a touchdown.

Pees was in a similar late-game situation in Super Bowl XLVII with the Ravens. It was fourth down and the Ravens needed one stop to win.

Five years later, Pees dialed up “Cable” again. He didn’t even hesitate.

"It's a darn good blitz,” Pees told Yahoo! Sports scribe Les Carpenter.

"If we went down, we were going to go down fighting.”

The blitz puts pressure on the cornerbacks outside. That’s exactly where Pees was looking during the play, watching to see if one of his cornerbacks would get beat like Hobbs did five years earlier. They didn’t, as Jimmy Smith was physical with wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Colin Kaepernick’s pass floated too long out of bounds.

Pees wasn’t even looking into the teeth of his blitz, where linebacker Dannell Ellerbe came clean for a shot on Kaepernick that forced him to get rid of the ball quickly. The Ravens executed Cable to perfection.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a little fear at the end," safety Bernard Pollard said. "But I knew we could get it done."

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