Even though Joe Flacco looks like he is on his way to earning a big payday, the Ravens quarterback probably won't get it anytime soon.
Talks on a long-term deal between the Ravens and Flacco have been shelved after a deal was close to being finalized in early August, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
This latest development has no impact on Flacco's future with the Ravens, or at least over the next couple of seasons. Flacco will be the Ravens' starter in 2013 and 2014, whether it's with a long-term deal or the franchise tag. Baltimore can keep Flacco from becoming a free agent by using the tag, which should be around $15 million next year and $18 million the year after that.
Sources told Schefter that if the two sides were to resume contract discussions now, they would have to start over.
The pressure is really on the Ravens because Flacco knows he is going to get his money. Paying Flacco $15 million would force other decisions because Baltimore has less than $15 million in salary-cap room in 2013. But it's easier to cut or restructure players than it is to find another quarterback. So, the Ravens will do whatever it takes to create room to keep Flacco.
When it comes to agreeing on a long-term deal, the difficulty is trying to agree on the correct value with Flacco. There's a large gap between the top tier quarterbacks -- Ben Roethlisberger (eight years, $102 million) and Eli Manning (seven years, $106.9 million) -- and the middle-tier ones like Ryan Fitzpatrick (six years, $59 million with $24 million guaranteed). My stance remains that Flacco will sign a contract that averages out to between $13 million and $14 million per season and includes between $30 million and $35 million guaranteed.
Flacco has repeatedly said that the lack of a new deal won't be a distraction for him. Judging by his season-opening performance against the Bengals, it looks like it has served as motivation for him.