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Late For Work 7/26: Comparing Matt Ryan's New Contract To Joe Flacco's


Comparing Ryan's New Contract To Flacco's

When Joe Flacco signed his contract in March, he became the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history.

Matt Ryan just leapfrogged Flacco in almost every notable contract category with the new deal he and the Atlanta Falcons struck Thursday.

Of course, that's not surprising. That's the way the NFL works – each new contract tries to outdo the previous. As Mike Florio noted, "the next domino has fallen in the ongoing game of quarterback jackpot." 

Thus, Ryan's agent likely used Flacco's contract as a benchmark in each of the categories below, ensuring that his Falcons client, who was drafted 15 spots ahead of Flacco in 2008, outdid his Ravens counterpart.

Here are the numbers, according to multiple reports:

Matt Ryan Contract

Joe Flacco Contract


5-year extension (6 total)

6 years


$103.75 million ($113.75)

$120.6 million

Average per year

$20.75 million

$20.1 million


$59 million

$52 million

1st 3 Years

$63 million

$62 million

The deal officially makes Ryan the second-highest paid player in the NFL, and Flacco is now the third. Both quarterbacks trail Aaron Rodgers, who signed a new contract with the Green Bay Packers in April.

Highest-paid quarterbacks

Rodgers ($22 million per year)
Ryan ($20.74 million per year)
Flacco ($20.1 million per year)

Most guaranteed money
Drew Brees ($60.5 million)
Ryan ($59 million)
Peyton Manning ($58 million)

Some Ravens fans may be disappointed to know Ryan received more money than their quarterback, especially because Flacco has won more playoff games and has a Super Bowl MVP honor. But NFL players are paid for what a team projects them to do. And the expectations on Ryan are no different than those on Flacco.

"Matt is a franchise quarterback," Falcons Owner Arthur Blank said. "We're not going to rest really well until we have rings. That's what this is about."

Leach Expected To Sign With Ravens Today

Will the Vonta Leach signing saga finally come to an end?

That's the word on the street … again.

This time, the expectation comes from Dave Hutchinson of the Newark-Star Ledger, who reported that Leach will make a decision today about which team he will play for this season. Leach is "leaning towards" re-signing with the Ravens.

That comes as no surprise if the reported offers are in fact correct.

The Giants have a standing one-year offer for the veteran minimum. The Ravens have a $2 million offer on the table with the ability for Leach to make $1 million more in incentives.

"If those deals are still available to Leach, it seems pretty obvious why he's leaning toward a return trip to Baltimore," wrote Curtis Crabtree of

How Much Does McKinnie Need To Lose?

Head Coach John Harbaugh held left tackle Bryant McKinnie from the first full-team training camp practice yesterday because "he is too heavy" right now. Harbaugh noted his weight wasn't for a lack of effort to keep off the extra pounds.

So exactly just how overweight was McKinnie, who was listed at 354 pounds last season?

Apparently the left tackle only needs to "lose some water weight," in the range of about 10 pounds, according to The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson.

Wilson added that McKinnie could be back to practice in just a few days, but the team is being "cautious" with him.

If you're surprised that McKinnie reported overweight, you shouldn’t be, says ESPN's Jamison Hensley.

As part of McKinnie's new contract this offseason, there was an agreement that he would play at a lower weight than last year.

"Based on his history, I'm not sure anyone really believed that," Hensley wrote. "Keeping weight down has always been a problem for McKinnie, and it will always be a problem.

"The Ravens knew there was a risk in re-signing McKinnie. If McKinnie didn't have any baggage, the Ravens wouldn't have had the salary-cap room to keep him. The Ravens, though, understand there is a reward with McKinnie if they can get him to shed some pounds. All you have to do is watch film of McKinnie during last season's playoffs, when he allowed two sacks despite going against Dwight Freeney, Elvis Dumervil and Aldon Smith."

Flacco Picking On Jimmy

Flacco was finding a fair amount of success against Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith in practice yesterday, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Sun.

"Flacco insists that he doesn't target specific cornerbacks, that he just throws where his reads take him," Zrebiec wrote. "But it certainly appeared that he had a radar lock on Jimmy Smith for much of the practice."

Apparently Flacco threw to Smith's man approximately five times in a seven-play span. The results? There was a completion to Torrey Smith, two completions to LaQuan Williams and then a drop by Tandon Doss. Smith was also flagged for a pass interference during the series when he was defending David Reed.

Many Snaps Left Over For Courtney Upshaw?

With Elvis Dumervil coming to town and teaming up with Terrell Suggs in what could become a scary pass-rushing tandem, second-year outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw has fallen off many fans' radar.

The Sun's Matt Vensel wonders how many snaps could be leftover for Upshaw.

"There are only so many snaps to go around among the three, and Suggs and Dumervil figured to get a large chunk of them," Vensel wrote.

"Upshaw probably won't be counted on to be an every-down player. He will likely be on the field often on early downs and short-yardage situations, an area of Dumervil's game that isn't as polished. Also, by opting to do that, the Ravens could potentially keep Dumervil -- or Suggs -- fresh for when it is time to hunt quarterbacks. The Ravens can bust out all three in obvious passing situations, but Upshaw's snaps should be scarcer then."

Breaking Down Tape with Torrey

Torrey Smith has said before that one of the toughest cornerbacks he has played against is Denver's Champ Bailey.

But Smith torched Bailey in the divisional playoff round last season, and he explains to The MMQB's Greg A. Bedard how it was done (trying not reveal too many secrets as the two are set to face off* *again Week 1).

Smith broke down several plays, all of which you can read about here. But the one below is the 59-yard touchdown Smith notched in the first quarter to tie the game at 7.

Flacco and Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell recognized that Smith was able to get open when Denver was in their preferred single-high safety coverage. The Broncos got easy pressure on Flacco, but he was able to get the ball out quickly with Smith beating Bailey in one-on-one coverage.

The screenshots below show that underneath crossers, Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, held the safety in the middle of the field so Smith would only have to beat Bailey.

"They basically played the same coverage (single high safety)," Smith explained. "They weren't running too much two (safeties) high and I knew that if I beat (Bailey)—even if I stacked him (when a receiver angles his body so the cornerback is directly behind him, not allowing him a chance to play the ball over the top)—he wouldn't be able to catch me. I just got inside, tried to get good position on him, which I was able to do. I got inside and I had all that field to work with because the route we had underneath was able to pull the safety in, so it was us and all that field.

"As a corner, it's hard to cover that much ground. So my eyes definitely lit up a little bit when I saw the coverage. (If the safety takes the underneath route) you're able to throw it over the top. It puts a safety (Tony Carter, No. 32) in a bind and that's what it's all about. If he decides to come and take off with me, which a lot of teams do, then that opens the person underneath me with two guys going that way."

Smith said that he had to make an adjustment because Flacco threw a vertical pass instead of the post he was running. Flacco threw it out in front so Smith didn't have to slow down.

"Had Joe thrown it shorter, [Bailey] might have tackled me," Smith said. "I kind of had to hurdle to get over top of him. Joe threw it out in front, I didn't slow down and obviously we were able to score."


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