On March 4, agent Joe Linta and the Ravens finalized a six-year, $120.6 million contract extension for Joe Flacco, making the quarterback the highest paid player in the history of the NFL.
Nearly three months later, Linta is still taking his victory lap.
The agent told USA Today that the extension talks broke down last August because of a disagreement on $1 million in non-guaranteed base salary in the final year of the proposed six-year extension. That prompted both sides to put off the negotiations until after the 2012-13 season, when Flacco's value was at his highest following his MVP performance in Super Bowl XLVII.
"I've never in my life seen a dumber move," Linta told the newspaper. "I guess people can say, 'Well, Joe was dumb, too.' It could have been [dumb], God forbid, if he got hurt. But $1 million to [Ravens owner] Steve Bisciotti six years from now? That's like $100 bucks for you or me today.''
Linta told the paper that the Ravens' decision to walk away from the talks before this past season cost the team "$35 million."
This offseason, the Ravens have undergone an unprecedented roster turnover for a Super Bowl champion, losing eight key contributors from last year's team. Ray Lewis and Matt Birk, a Linta client, both retired. However, the Ravens, who were up against the salary cap, opted not to re-sign free agents Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger, Cary Williams and Ed Reed. They also released hard-hitting safety Bernard Pollard and then traded Flacco's favorite target, Anquan Boldin, for a draft pick in a cost-cutting move.
Some attributed the heavy losses to the Flacco's deal, though the quarterback has a modest $6.8 million salary cap figure in 2013.
"I have no sympathy. None," Linta said.
Flacco's deal, which was finalized just over a month after he led the Ravens to a victory in Super Bowl XLVII and completed one of the best postseasons ever by a quarterback, included a $29 million signing bonus and a $62 million payout through the first three years of the deal. It was the biggest contract in NFL history for less than two months as quarterback Aaron Rodgers reached agreement on a new deal with the Green Bay Packers that surpassed the Flacco pact.
Because Flacco's cap number surges to $28.55 million by 2016, the extension is essentially a three-year deal.
"I'm not apologetic for the fact this is really a three-year deal, there's no way they can afford $29 million a couple of years from now,'' Linta told USA Today. "I'm not apologetic. They chose to walk away.''
Linta had said that the Flacco negotiations, done primarily with Ravens vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty, were amicable and professional. However, his latest comments will surely get the attention of team officials.
Linta currently represents four Ravens: Flacco, rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk, center Gino Gradkowski and guard Antoine McClain.