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Joe Flacco has brought the Ravens to the Super Bowl, but does that mean he is worth a mega-contract?
According to Yahoo Sports, reports say that Flacco is looking to negotiate a new contract that will pay him $20 million per season. He is set to be a free agent when the year ends and is in the last year of a five-year, $29.75 million contract.
Flacco wants to be paid like the best quarterbacks in the league, which would put him in a conversation with two one-time Super Bowl winners: Peyton Manning, who has a five-year, $96 million deal; and Drew Brees, who has a five-year, $100 million contract. Three-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady has a five-year, $78.5 million deal.
The Ravens could use the franchise tag on him and pay approximately $14.6 million, but Flacco is looking for a new deal. He has set records while with the Ravens and is the first quarterback in NFL history to win playoff games in each of his first five seasons. Flacco has played mediocre in the postseason up until this season.
During this run of the playoffs, Flacco has been fantastic, earning three wins over the Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos and New England Patriots, while completing 51 of 93 attempts (54.8 percent) for 853 yards with eight touchdown passes and no interceptions. He also had the game-tying touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones against the Broncos to send the game to overtime. The Ravens won 38-35.
The team has moved from a more defensive-minded approach in past years to an offensive attack, but there was mixed results early in season. Things worked great in a 55-20 win against the Oakland Raiders, but that team had one of the worst defenses in the league. A 9-6 win against Kansas City did not look pretty, no did a 43-13 loss at Houston.
During the regular season, Flacco completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 3,817 yards with 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The biggest issue for Flacco in his time in Baltimore isn't about winning---he has set numerous records for wins in his early seasons---it's about his play on the field. Flacco hasn't been the most accurate quarterback and has never completed more than 63 percent of his passes as a pro.
This year he ranked 19th in the league in completion percentage behind names like Nick Foles, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Christian Ponder. In April, Flacco said he thought he was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
"I assume everybody thinks they're a top-five quarterback," Flacco said to ESPN.com when asked where he thinks he ranks among NFL quarterbacks. "I mean, I think I'm the best. I don't think I'm top five, I think I'm the best. I don't think I'd be very successful at my job if I didn't feel that way. I mean, c'mon? That's not really too tough of a question. That doesn't mean that things are going to work out that way. It just means that's the way it is -- that's the way I feel that it is and that's the way I feel it should be."
Prior to this season he led the Ravens to two trips to the AFC Championship game, and is the first quarterback to start and win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons. All that winning should signal that Flacco will stay in Baltimore, but it just depends on the price tag.
Flacco is worth the money for the Ravens since he proved he could beat quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in the playoffs, but the contract could end up being a long-term liability for the Ravens. His father called him dull recently, but this week at the Super Bowl shows why Flacco is who he is.
He made some comments about next year's Super Bowl in New York as well.
"Yeah, I think it's retarded," Flacco said. "I probably shouldn't say that. I think it's stupid. If you want a Super Bowl, put a retractable dome on your stadium. Then you can get one. Other than that I don't really like the idea. I don't think people would react very well to it, or be glad to play anybody in that kind of weather."
Flacco was a first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft and brought the team to the AFC Championship last season, but couldn't get the job done against the Patriots after wide receiver Lee Evans dropped what would have been the game-winning touchdown.
Flacco has been a durable quarterback, never missing a start in five seasons and has passed for at least 20 touchdowns in every year but his rookie season. He was the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to win two playoff games and is already the franchise leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns.
Last season Flacco threw for 3,610 yards and 20 touchdowns, but had 12 interceptions while completing just 57 percent of his passes, one of the lowest in the league. In his first three seasons Flacco completed over 60 percent of his passes each year, but also threw 34 interceptions.