Is Joe Flacco Open To A Contract Restructure? 'Come On, I Want To Win'
Quarterback Joe Flacco is no dummy.
He is 100 percent aware of his scheduled $28.55 million cap number next season. He is also aware that something needs to be done with that cap hit if the Ravens are going to put together a winning roster.
So is the eight-year veteran open to restructuring what's remaining on his back-loaded $120 million contract?
"Come on, I want to win," Flacco told WBAL 1090 Radio this morning while promoting the 20th Annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Maryland.
"So I want to do everything we can to get something done. I don't know exactly what that is, or exactly what that's going to be,* *because we haven't talked about it yet. But I know that is a huge number and it's not really realistic. … Yes, I'm open to doing something. I mean, I want to be here for a while. I want to play football here. That's what it's all about."
Flacco had a second radio appearance a few minutes later, and the folks at 98 Rock asked him if part of his motivation to restructure is to get more pieces around him.
"Of course," Flacco said.
"In this league, everyone is going to have a quarterback or somebody on their team that is getting paid this kind of money, and it's going to become an issue at some point and they're going to have to do something about it."
That will be music to fans' ears after both General Manager Ozzie Newsome and agent Joe Linta said there said there have been no negotiations up to this point. The Ravens said they would come up with at least one offseason plan that would include sticking with his scheduled cap number.
A restructure could free up an estimated $5-9 million. There is no timetable for contract negotiations, but if a restructure is going to be done, it would likely be before free agency opens on March 9. Events like the Senior Bowl (next week) and the NFL Scouting Combine (Feb. 23-29) are often where teams dive into contract talks with agents.
In the meantime, Flacco is sticking around Baltimore even more than usual this offseason as he rehabs after undergoing ACL and PCL knee surgery. He walked into the radio studio without any crutches, but was wearing a knee brace.
He said his rehab is "going well" and couldn't ask for anything better at this point. While Flacco said he doesn't know the exact timetable, he expects to be back in time for the season. Head Coach John Harbaugh has said that Flacco is scheduled to return to the field during training camp.
"I feel very good," Flacco said. "I'm taking it day-by-day. I don't want to do overdo anything or try to do anything too early and force myself into some type of setback. But I'm coming along great. I don't think there's any way I'm not going to be out there and ready to go right away."
98 Rock was quick to point out that the league features some quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger,*who seemingly play up their injuries and hard hits. Former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick called Roethlisberger a "drama queen" last week, *and Brady was accused of being a "crybaby" by a Broncos player week.
Flacco has been the antithesis of that.
Instead of milking the injury during the Week 11 matchup against the St. Louis Rams, he finished the game with two torn ligaments in his knee. The Ravens ended up hitting the game-winning field goal a few plays later.
How was Flacco able to fight through the pain?
"I don't know that there was a ton of pain," he said. "It was just a crazy sensation when you feel your whole knee blow up and pull apart. It didn't really pop. It was just a bunch of little things just like pulling apart. I knew it right away.
"I got up with the intention to go to the sideline, and when I started putting some weight on it, I was like, 'Alright, this isn't too bad.' So I went back to the huddle and figured we didn't have very many snaps left and I could do whatever we had to do at that point."
Kiper's Re-Grade Of Ravens' 2015 Draft Class
Mel Kiper docked the Ravens' 2015 draft class a full letter grade from what he originally assigned them in April after he saw a full season.
The Ravens went from an A-minus to a B-minus for one major, and unsurprising, reason: their first-round pick never saw the field.
"This draft class takes a step back only because Breshad Perriman didn't play at all due to injury," Kiper wrote. "But beyond that, they did use a lot of these guys, though it was partially due to so many injuries during a season that kind of spun out of control from an attrition standpoint. … Perriman needs to pan out, but he kind of epitomized the season in Baltimore. If Perriman reaches his potential, this class looks a lot better.
"Maxx Williams showed potential with 32 catches, as did Carl Davis and Za'Darius Smith on defense. Javorius 'Buck' Allen could be the future No. 1 and rushed for more than 500 yards."
Let's take a look at each pick and how his season panned out, with analysis from ESPN's Jamison Hensley:
Round 1 (No. 26) WR Breshad Perriman
Hensley: "The entire perception of this class would change dramatically if Perriman replaces Torrey Smith as the main deep threat or develops into Baltimore's primary target."
Round 2 (No. 55): TE Maxx Williams
Hensley: "Tight end Maxx Williams and linebacker Za'Darius Smith finished strong but they struggled with consistency for a majority of the season."
Round 3 (No. 90) DT Carl DavisHensley: "Defensive lineman Carl Davis … started early before hitting the rookie wall."
Round 4 (No. 122): OLB Za'Darius SmithHensley:* *see Williams
Round 4 (No. 125): RB Buck Allen
Hensley: "Allen was the one who saved this draft class. His ability to turn short catches into big plays carried the Baltimore offense at times in the second half of the season. Over the last seven games (after Justin Forsett broke his arm), the fourth-round pick totaled 627 yards and scored three touchdowns. Only Arizona's David Johnson had more yards among rookies during that span."
Round 4 (No. 136): CB Tray WalkerHensley: "Baltimore doesn't really know what it has in cornerback Tray Walker. … Walker rarely got on the field on defense despite the need at cornerback." Round 5 (No. 171): TE Nick Boyle
Hensley: "The biggest steal of the draft for the Ravens was tight end Nick Boyle, a fifth-round pick who played better than Williams at different points this season. But Boyle's season was tarnished by a four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs."
Round 5 (No. 176): G Robert MyersHensley: "The Ravens also lost guard Robert Myers to the Denver Broncos, who signed him off Baltimore's practice squad late in the season."
Round 6 (No. 204): WR Darren WallerHensley: "Baltimore doesn't really know what it has in wide receiver Darren Waller. … Waller was primarily a special-teams player."
Crockett Gillmore's Perfect 'Back To School' Post
It looks like Ravens tight end Crockett Gillmore is heading back to school this offseason, and he had the perfect Instagram post to announce it.
He recorded a scene from Adam Sandler's hit movie "Billy Madison," when he returned to elementary school and sang a made-up and now famous "back to school" song.
Gillmore was drafted in 2014, and now, nearly two years later, he will finish his final semester toward a degree from Colorado State University.
PFF Ranks Ravens O-Line No. 13, Call Yanda Hall Of Famer
The Ravens' offensive line took a steep fall in the Pro Football Focus rankings, dropping from No. 3 in 2014 to No. 13 in 2015.
The unit was shuffled on the fly as injuries took a toll. Starting left tackle Eugene Monroe missed 10 games and starting center Jeremy Zuttah was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 18 with a partially torn pectoral muscle. It ended a streak of playing in 65 consecutive games for Zuttah.
"Injuries really hurt the Ravens, so it's impressive that the unit didn't slide more than the 10 places they did," wrote PFF's Khaled Elsayed. "It wasn't just the guy who couldn't get on the field (Eugene Monroe), but also the drop off from Ricky Wagner, who had a rough season after his breakout 2014. With the talent on paper, they didn't live up to expectations."
Despite the injuries, there was one obvious standout who is playing so well that Elsayed envisions him getting the greatest honor in football.
"Whenever Marshal Yanda retires, he'll become a first-ballot PFF Hall of Famer—of that, you can be sure. He's had his usual year, which is to say he's our top-ranked guard," Elsayed wrote.