The Ravens are likely to meet with the agent for Super Bowl Most Valuable Player quarterback Joe Flacco this weekend at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
The details of the meeting are still being finalized.
The Ravens haven't negotiated with agent Joe Linta since August when contract talks hit sticking points over guaranteed money, total value and structure.
Now that Flacco's rookie contract has expired and he played a major role in engineering a Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers with three touchdowns and zero interceptions, the 2008 first-round draft pick's asking price has increased. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has said the Ravens offered to make Flacco among the top five compensated quarterbacks in the NFL before the start of this past season.
Linta recently told The Baltimore Sun that he would seek for Flacco to become the top paid quarterback in the game. That would exceed New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees' $20 million annual average and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning's $18 million average.
"Somebody said, 'Should Joe be the highest-paid quarterback in the game?' I said, 'Yes,' " Linta said. "I'm not going to be apologetic for him. He's shown he's a big-time guy in terms of contract versus other guys. He's a lot younger than them, too. He's hitting his prime.
"When you do the contract, you want to look at two things: body of work and present value over his five years of work, including the last month. You have to be able to project out what he can do and what he can do for the next five to six years. On both counts, Joe has been exemplary. He's not injured, and the game is slowing down for him. Great quarterbacks, the game is in slow motion for them."
Linta acknowledged that he's seeking higher compensation now that Flacco has had a record-tying postseason. His 11 touchdown passes and zero interceptions tie him with Joe Montana and Kurt Warner for the most touchdown passes in NFL history during a single playoffs.
In the playoffs, Flacco completed 73 of 126 passes (57.9 percent) for 1,140 yards and a 114.0 quarterback rating.
"Every time you talk, it's based on present circumstances," Linta said. "What we tried to do in August was reflective of the present circumstances. Now, we'll look at this situation differently."
If the Ravens are unable to hammer out a multi-year contract with Flacco by a March 4 NFL deadline to use the franchise tag, then they are expected to secure his services and prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent through either a $20.46 million exclusive franchise tender or a $14.6 million non-exclusive franchise tender.
"I'm coming away today thinking that we can get a deal done," Newsome said at the Ravens' season-ending press conference. "I've got a very good owner who understands the business and understands the importance of certain positions. So, I'm optimistic."
The Ravens have a history of eventually signing their franchise players to market-value deals, including Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice to a five-year, $40 million maximum value deal last July and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata in 2011 to a five-year, $61.5 million contract two years ago.
"Joe Flacco has the most leverage of any player I've seen in a while, so it's going to be really interesting to see it all unfold," said Mike McCartney, Ngata's agent. "The Ravens do have a history of getting their top players signed. It often does go to the deadline, but Pat Moriarty and Ozzie Newsome do get their top guys signed. And the quarterback position is so important. I anticipate those two sides eventually getting something done."
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