Flacco needs to be patient when it comes to Ravens extension

I'll be heading over to Camden Yards this afternoon to do a live chat for Opening Day. But before I get into full-on Orioles mode, I wanted to give my quick thoughts on Joe Flacco, who said Saturday that he is disappointed that the Ravens don't want to negotiate a contract extension until after the 2011 season.

"I think I've established myself," Flacco told The Baltimore Sun on Saturday. "If you're not confident with who I am, I'm not sure what a year is going to make."

That's not the issue. First things first, the players are locked out right now, so the Ravens couldn't even negotiate a new contract with their young quarterback if it was their top offseason priority, which it is not. Whenever the lockout is lifted, the Ravens will have to scramble to re-sign their free agents and fill holes with new players in free agency. Once that is done, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, whom the team gave the franchise tag designation to a couple of months ago, is first in line when it comes to negotiating an extension.

"I would like to do something as soon as possible because I feel like I deserve it," Flacco said before Haruki Nakamura's Japan relief charity event. "If you don't feel like I'm going to be your quarterback for the next 10 years, what's one year going to make. I don't know what the deal is. We'll have to let this play out and see."

Even if we weren't stuck in a lockout, I'd still think the Ravens would be doing the right thing if they put off extension talks until next season. The team is still trying to figure out what they have in Flacco. He has proven that he is a good starter and a top-10 quarterback. But there are questions about his ability to deliver in the playoffs, something he has yet to do (but he is just three years into his career, so he still has plenty of time).

That's not to say the Ravens aren't sure if Flacco is their guy. They say he is, and I believe them. But they have to figure exactly how much he is worth financially before coming to the table to talk about an extension.

Instead voicing his disappointment through the media -- I appreciate the candidness, but it won't go over well in this time of labor unrest -- Flacco should have just kept quiet and waited to make his case on the playing field. If Flacco has a monster 2011 and performs well in the playoffs, he will be able to get the contract that he wants, one bigger than he could get right now, whenever the extension is negotiated.

Flacco is right. When it comes to the Ravens' level of devotion, money talks.

But if he lets his play do the talking for him, that fat contract will come next offseason.

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