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Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Brady, Big Ben helping out Ravens

By Jamison Hensley


The Baltimore Ravens could be getting help from two of their biggest rivals in the AFC, the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers.

As ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter points out, the restructured quarterback contracts make it easier for Baltimore to put the exclusive franchise tag on Joe Flacco.

The Super Bowl MVP already lost $800,000 from Tom Brady's new contract and could lose more when Ben Roethlisberger restructures his deal by the end of the week. In fact, Flacco could lose up to $3 million if the contracts of the other highest-paid quarterbacks -- Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are restructured.

Teams are restructuring the contracts of quarterbacks, who usually have the highest salary-cap number, to get under the cap by March 12.

The exclusive franchise tag is determined by the average of the five highest-paid players at that position for that season. It prohibits the player from negotiating with other teams.

Before Brady's new deal, it was going to cost the Ravens $20.4 million to put the exclusive franchise tag on Flacco. After Brady's deal, the tag is now $19.6 million. If Roethlisberger and other quarterbacks restructure their deals, the tag will drop more, which benefits a Ravens team that will be tight against the cap.

The Ravens and Flacco's agent are currently negotiating a long-term deal. If an agreement can't be reached by March 4, the Ravens will put the tag on Flacco to keep him from becoming an unrestricted free agent.