Joe Flacco, Ron Jaworski Team Up On Golf Course Purchase
Joe Flacco is officially the owner of a 27-hole golf course.
The Ravens quarterback teamed up with former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and ESPN commentator Ron Jaworski and a few others to purchase the Ramblewood Country Club in Mount Laurel, N.J., according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.
Financial terms of the purchase were not available.
While this marks the seventh golf course for Jaworski, this is quite the acquisition for the same guy that went to McDonald's to celebrate his $120 million contract in 2013.
As a native of Audubon, N.J., Flacco's hometown is less than 20 miles from the course. Flacco, who has been known to play a round or two of golf during the offseason, once told The Baltimore Sun that he would like his children to become professional golfers.
"I'm going to try to get my kid involved in golf and maybe try to get my kid to try to qualify for the PGA Tour. That's my dream," Flacco told Matt Vensel in 2013. "Maybe in another 20 years, I can be retired and me and my wife can travel around and watch my kid or a couple of my kids play golf. That would be the dream."
I can already see his kids running around their dad's new club, and turning into tall, lanky stud golfers a few years down the road.
As for Flacco himself, word on the street is he has little bit of a "Happy Gilmore" style to his game, minus the club-throwing tirades.
"He can hit it a mile. You can tell that if he had the time to do it and put his mind to it, he could be a really good golfer," former NFL quarterback and current CBS analyst Rich Gannon told Vensel. "He can kill the ball. But I had to tell him, 'Joe, put that driver away every once in a while and you'd be a lot better off.'
"He's got long arms and a big swing and he takes a mean rip at it. He can bomb it. I always thought I could hit it long on the course, but he was hitting it by me 50 or 60 yards on every tee shot."
Now that he's got a course of his own, he'll have plenty of opportunities to perfect his game. But don't expect him to do it anytime soon. As long as he's a professional football player, golf is just a hobby.
"No, no, no. Not until after I retire," Flacco said. "I don't have that much interest in golf, to be honest with you. I like playing. It's fun. But after a while it gets boring."
Hypothetical Flacco Contract Extension
Let's continue with Flacco for one more section …
While his agent, Joe Linta, and the Ravens have both said that re-doing Flacco's contract may not be necessary this offseason, most media analysts see that as negotiation tactics and still believe a new deal will be struck in the coming months.
While he concedes that the Ravens very well may choose to live with Flacco's $28.55 million cap hit in 2016, Russell Street Report's resident salary cap guru Brian McFarland put together a hypothetical contract extension to give readers an idea of what a new deal may look like.
"[L]et's be clear, this contract is going to be huge," wrote McFarland. "If they want to get something done, it's going to have to come from an extension that will add new years to the deal and give Joe a lot more money."
Several factors are looked at when assessing the value of any NFL contract, including total value, yearly average, guaranteed money, "new money" and the first 3-year payout.
Using contracts from around the league, and trying to give Flacco enough incentive to re-do his deal, McFarland came up with the following:
Total deal: six years, $125 million
2016 signing bonus: $30 million
2017 option bonus: $10 million
Guaranteed money: $65 million ($44 million fully guaranteed)
First 3-year payout (from 2016-2018: $65 million)
Yearly average: $20.83 million
New money: $66.4 million
This new deal would create $8 million in cap space in 2016, per McFarland, and would decrease Flacco's cap hit in 2017 by $5.6 million. His cap charge from 2017 to 2021 would largely remain flat (ranging from $25 to $27 million), making it less likely for the Ravens to need another renegotiation in the future.
"As I said, it's going to be a big deal (although, the above is probably the upper limit of what the deal will turn out to be)," wrote McFarland. "The biggest question is whether Flacco is going to push for a maximum deal as above or if he's willing to accept a lesser deal and give the team a hometown discount (whatever that might mean on a deal of this size)."
Better For Ed Reed To Get Feet Wet Elsewhere
A large contingent of Ravens fans are disappointed that safety Ed Reed will begin his NFL coaching career in Buffalo instead of Baltimore, where he played a majority of his career.
But WNST's Luke Jones believes it's probably better for Reed to get his feet wet outside of Baltimore. Here's why:
"[A] Hall of Fame playing career doesn't guarantee that he'll be a successful coach as players in multiple sports have learned," Jones wrote. "It would be an awkward position for the Ravens to fire one of the best players in franchise history should he not have what it takes to be a coach.
"In Buffalo, fans won't be sentimental about an assistant coach who had a Hall of Fame career in Baltimore if Ryan would need to let him go in a year or two. Reed will be able to fly under the radar more with the Bills as he learns the craft."
Let's say the Ravens secondary struggled mightily during Reed's first year as an assistant defensive backs coach. Under normal circumstances, most fans don't even know the names of defensive backs coaches, but Reed wouldn't fly under the radar if he were to get his coaching start in Baltimore.
Additionally, while Jones isn't suggesting there was a rift with the Ravens, he says it would be a more awkward transition in Baltimore because he was a mercurial player who wasn't always the most coachable.
"If Reed proves capable and enjoys the extensive commitment needed to be an NFL coach — he only coached flag football for kids this past year — the Ravens should welcome the future Hall of Fame safety with open arms," wrote Jones.
"But it's better for everyone that he begins his coaching career elsewhere."
Brian Billick Calls Ben Roethlisberger A 'Drama Queen'
As the former head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, Brian Billick played a game or two against Ben Roethlisberger. Billick knows the Steelers quarterback well from a rich rivalry together.
Perhaps their history is why Billick says Roethlisberger is two things: 1) one of the toughest players in the NFL, and 2) a drama queen.
Roethlisberger is currently trying to get healthy after sustaining a shoulder injury during the Steelers-Bengals wild-card matchup. He left the game, but returned to lead Pittsburgh to a game-winning field goal.
Roethlisberger's shoulder has been watched closely all week as he prepares for the divisional-round game in Denver. Here's Billick's prediction as to what's going to happen:
"Ben Roethlisberger, there's no one tougher, by far in the NFL, but he's a drama queen," Billick says in the audio clip below at the 7:45 mark.
"He's gonna come out on the field, that arms gonna look limp, it's gonna look like he can't even lift it and he's going to crank off a 60-yard bomb to Martavis Bryant. Then, he'll carry it back in the huddle, holding it likes it's in a sling and then he'll crank off a 40-yarder to Antonio Brown."
Guess I might have to start running right now to get in shape — Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) January 14, 2016