Drew Brees will sign a five-year, $100 million contract with the New Orleans Saints that will guarantee $40 million in 2012, according to ESPN. The extension involves an NFL-record $60 million in guaranteed money.
So what does that mean for Flacco? It’s difficult to tell.
Flacco has one year left on his five-year, $11.9 million rookie deal, and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has said he hopes to sign him to a long-term contract extension before the 2012 season. The negotiations could make Flacco the franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future or force him to enter the final year of his rookie deal without a long-term commitment from the team.
But it’s unclear how much money the Ravens will be willing to offer Flacco. They have 13 unrestricted free agents, after all, and sources have indicated that their first priority is locking down running back Ray Rice to a long-term deal.
Money concerns aside, it’s still debatable whether Flacco is a top-five quarterback.
He is the first quarterback to lead his team to the playoffs in each of his first four professional seasons, but is coming off arguably the worst statistical season of his career. Flacco had a career-low completion percentage (57.6), tied a career high in interceptions (12), and had his lowest quarterback rating since his rookie campaign.
Thus, it’s difficult to gauge what salary level Flacco will command. He’ll likely earn more than Kansas City Chiefs’ Matt Cassel ($29 million guaranteed), but could make less than the San Diego Chargers’ Philip Rivers ($38 million guaranteed).
Nonetheless, the fact remains: If the Ravens decide to give Flacco the franchise tag, the former Rookie of the Year’s price likely will rise after Brees signs his reported deal.
Everything else is still up for speculation.