"You've seen this happen with Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Brady," Corry said. "You only do that with elite players. Otherwise, you're setting up a situation where the player gets cut when he gets to the higher cap numbers. By restructuring, it helps you retain more of your core players and stay competitive in free agency.

"That's becoming the trend lately with Tom Brady doing that. You have to have a very high level of trust between the team and the player. It's critical that you have that or you can't work together on something like this."

By design, Flacco has an extremely low salary-cap figure for this year.

With a cap impact of $6.8 million for this fiscal year assigned to Flacco, the Ravens are $11.263 million under the salary-cap limit of $123 million. That should allow the Super Bowl champions to potentially retain some of Flacco's teammates, including unrestricted free agent inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, veterans under contract like wide receiver Anquan Boldin, and a restricted free agent class that includes tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson and defensive lineman Arthur Jones.

By striking this deal prior to Monday's NFL deadline, the Ravens avoided having to make Flacco their franchise player. That would have entailed either a $19.1 million exclusive tender or a nonexclusive tender of $14.896 million.

"I know it's going to be less on the cap than an exclusive or nonexclusive franchise tag would be," Flacco said when asked about his contract relative to the salary cap. "I know we have a lot of good players on the team, and I love to play with those guys so hopefully it works out very good for the organization and we can keep as many people as we need."

Linta indicated that Flacco has always been cognizant of how his big contract would affect his teammates' job security.

"The fact that we were able to keep the cap number low enough in the first year that it preserves their ability to re-sign at least some of these guys and keep the core of the team together was important," Linta said. "It was really a mutual assured destruction to put the franchise tag, either one of them, on him. It was a big benefit to both parties to be able to figure something out. It came up in conversation that we wanted to make sure we could work with them on the cap to help preserve the team and keep the team together."