When quarterback Joe Flacco signed a new long-term contract Monday, it was structured in a way to give the Ravens some much-needed flexibility under this year's $123 million salary cap.
Flacco's cap hit this year is reportedly just $6.8 million and the Ravens now have about $11.26 million in salary cap space, which could help them avoid having to make wide receiver Anquan Boldin a cap casualty.
And Flacco is glad to help the Ravens bring back his favorite target.
"He's a big part of why I'm standing here today talking to you guys," Flacco said just minutes after signing his contract. "It definitely increases my confidence that we'll have him back, and I hope we do."
In Boldin's three years in Baltimore, he's been the team's top receiver, catching 186 passes for 1,815 yards and 14 touchdowns. He's also proven the ability to take over games and step up on the biggest stages, just like he did this postseason.
In the Ravens' four playoff games this year, Boldin registered 22 catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns. He caught the game's first touchdown in the Super Bowl and hauled in a critical third-down grab in the fourth quarter to set up the game-winning field goal.
"I'll tell you what: Anquan was a beast in those four games," Flacco said. "It was awesome to have him out there. You guys saw some of the catches that he made – none more important than the third down against San Francisco. He's been a big part of this offense."
Boldin has one year left on his contract and is due $6 million next season. He recently said he'd retire if released because he doesn't want to play for any other team.
By getting Flacco signed to a long-term deal before having to use the franchise tag, the Ravens freed up the salary cap space, which makes Flacco confident that they'll be able to keep the core of their team together for the coming years.
"I know we have a lot of good players on the team," Flacco said. "I know I love to play with those guys, so hopefully it works out very good for the organization, and we can keep as many people as we need."