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Flacco deal shouldn't top bad contract list

7/28/2014

Joe Flacco continues to be the face of bad contracts for quarterbacks, and it's just wrong to continue this narrative.

When Grantland named the starter for the Baltimore Ravens its choice at quarterback on the All-Bad Contracts Team, it was another instance of forgetting the deals signed by Tony Romo and Jay Cutler since. If Flacco's contract is the worst, how would you describe the bigger contracts given to two quarterbacks who haven't accomplished as much as Flacco?

In terms of guaranteed money, Romo ($55 million) and Cutler ($54 million) top Flacco's $51 million. And, to put this in perspective, the Ravens rewarded Flacco with his big deal after he was the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player. Romo and Cutler were given this type of money after failing to lead their teams to the playoffs.

Flacco's 62 regular-season wins are the most by a starting quarterback in his first six seasons in NFL history. Before you say he was the beneficiary of playing on great teams, 35 of those wins came when Flacco produced a passer rating of at least 95.

In comparison, since Flacco entered the league in 2008, Cutler has 47 wins and Romo has 44. In Cutler's eight seasons, he has finished with a winning record as a starter three times.

Where Flacco separates himself is in the playoffs. While many remember Flacco's Montana-like Super Bowl run two years ago, he has been a hot quarterback in the postseason beyond that.

In his past three playoff seasons (2010-2012), Flacco has a 6-2 record with a 105 passer rating. He has averaged 251 passing yards per game with 18 touchdowns and two interceptions. He also came within a Lee Evans dropped pass from leading the Ravens to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances.

This overshadows the likes of Romo and Cutler. Romo has a career 1-3 record in the playoffs, and Cutler is 1-1 in the postseason.

This isn't to suggest that Flacco's contract is a good one. He would be the first to acknowledge he didn't live up to the six-year, $120.6 million deal last season, when he threw the second-most interceptions in the league.

But his contract isn't as gaudy as it was 17 months ago, when he became the NFL's highest-paid player. Flacco now ranks seventh in the league in guaranteed money.

Still, the perception remains that Flacco's contract is the worst in NFL history. The fact is, worse deals have been given to quarterbacks over the past year.