What The Seattle Seahawks Can Learn From The Joe Flacco Contract

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco warms up before Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

By now, you’ve heard that the Baltimore Ravens and Joe Flacco have agreed on a 6 year, $120 million extension that’ll make him the highest paid player in NFL history. The numbers are astounding, but not surprising. Flacco was set to become a free agent in few days, and was coming off what is probably the best postseason by a QB in NFL history.

Everyone will say that the Ravens “overpaid” for Flacco. Perhaps they did, but how do you define “overpaid” in this situation. What were the Ravens supposed to do, let him walk in free agency? Of course not. The Ravens were stuck in a position where they had to pay Flacco whatever he wanted. In the end, it’s all about leverage in any negotiation. In this case, Flacco had all of it.

The Ravens could have avoided this problem by giving Flacco an extension a year ago, or 2 years ago. Or by drafting another QB in the past couple years with some talent. It’s not like this situation snuck up on them. It’s been looming for a couple years now.

The Seahawks need to be paying attention. Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman will be needing to be paid in next few years. They need to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes the Ravens did.

For starters, they need to get these extensions done early. The closer these players get to free agency, the tougher it gets to sign them in way that’s team and cap friendly.

Next, the Seahawks need to not ignore the position in the draft. This is especially true at FS and CB. Going into a negotiation and being able to honestly say that “The backup plan is already on the roster” is essentially like saying “We can win without you.” Like it or not, that’s leverage that can be used to keep salaries down.

Ultimately, the Ravens handled this situation as poorly as possible. The Seahawks need to learn from Baltimores mistakes, and make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen in Seattle.

Topics: Jow Flacco, Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

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  • Jankyhawk

    Not sure I agree with all this…. Its easy to say, YES, sign guys early, don’t let them get the leverage, etc, but players often dictate this. They WANT to reach free agency because that is how they get the leverage. In order to lock them up before they reach free agency usually you have to give them favorable terms for the player. Flacco asked for favorable terms last offseason and the Ravens weren’t willing to pay him that much. He won the bet . As for having replacements on the roster, that is also good in theory, but if you do end up resigning the guys, then players you have drafted often leave after their rookie deal is up because they cant break through. If you identify core players, you pencil them in and plan for them to be in those spots unless something goes really wrong. You always have franchise tag. In this case, it more sense for Bal to overpay now than tag, because it saves them 13 million off their cap at a critical time. They may even uses their tag on someone else now, they have that flexibility. Finally, there is always risk in giving out a big deal with guaranteed jack. If a player is to get injured, or not perform as well, that signing bonus sticks on the salary cap no matter what. So, even though you sometimes lose big like the Ravens did, money wise, they actually won. They were able to get what they wanted out of Flacco in a Superbowl win, and they now can feel comfortable they know what they are paying for, even if they are overpaying for it

    • Dan

      I agree with most of this but you have to consider how much players are getting paid right now. If he signs an extension before his rookie contract expires he gets that money NOW. instead of wasting a full year of getting less then 1 million in salary. on the flip side, if the FO extends someone who’s still under their rookie contract, that player now has a bigger cap hit. but in the long run, their contract is more cap friendly…. at least, that’s the idea of extending someone like sherm or ET early

    • 12thMan_Rising

      agreed. it always takes 2 to tango in terms of contracts. You can’t force someone to sign a contract. Usually though, if the team is fair and pays legitimate value, players will play along. not always, but usually. Just so long as teams don’t try and low-ball the negotiations…

  • goHawks

    Even if the Seahawks wanted to extend Wilson and Sherman this year, they wouldn’t be able to under the new CBA. They need to play out their rookie contracts before teams can re-negotiate with players drafted under the new CBA.

    • 12thMan_Rising

      actually they don’t have to play out the rookie deals. They can be signed after the 3rd season on their 4 year deals. what you’re probably thinking of is that the player cannot hold out before year 4 to get a better deal. They are required to play out all 4 in that regard.

  • disqus_8uTkp82LAz

    Ravens sure did overpay but, as the article notes, their hands may have been tied. How can you toss a QB who had a good post-season capped off with the SB?! It would’ve been tough. However, Flacco isn’t the best QB in the league. Far from it. However, he is being paid like the best which just doesn’t seem right.

    • 12thMan_Rising

      I completely agree. He’s was pretty average in the regular season. Seem out of place for him to be the highest paid.

  • ricefield

    I’m glad the Ravens spent all that money on Flacco. I wonder how many good players will be let go because of this? I think Anquan Boldin made Flacco into a SB winner. It seems like he made many catches by outmuscling the DB. I agree that signing Wilson, Sherman, and Thomas as soon as possible makes sense. There are others as well like Browner, Wright, Wagner, etc. Some serious talent evaluation will have to be made as to gets what and who is let go.

    • 12thMan_Rising

      well, that team is old, and many of the oldest players are overpaid in terms of production. Ray Lewis retiring and being repalced by a rookie actually makes up for the raise Flacco just got, and I’m sure Lewis’s production can be replaced by a rook. He simply wasn’t the same player he used to be.

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