All the talk about cap space, cap hits, & dead money gets a little tiresome. Nobody wants to take the time to look at it from the player’s side and there’s no better way to do that than counting the Flacco dollars. Flacco dollars are simply the amount of dollars going into Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco’s pockets and that is what’s important to Flacco. As a matter of fact it’s the only thing important to Flacco. Forget the Raven for life and team loyalty gibberish; Flacco outwitted the great Ozzie, and contract-wise has the Ravens right where he wants them.
Flacco bucked the trend of players who accept early low offers from their teams and give in to the attraction of locking in guaranteed money as soon as it was offered. By playing 2012 without a new contract, he maneuvered the Ravens into dealing on his terms, not theirs. Barring serious injury, it was a good long term play no matter what happened in 2012. When the Ravens won the Super Bowl, any hope of keeping the negotiations on an even playing field ended for the Ravens. The Flacco dollars tell the tale.
2013: Salary $1M + 29M signing bonus = 30M Flacco Dollars
2014: Salary $6M + 15M option bonus = 21M Flacco Dollars
2015: Salary $4M + 7M option bonus = 11M Flacco Dollars
2016: Salary $18M = 18M Flacco Dollars
2017: Salary $20.6M = 20.6M Flacco Dollars
2018: Salary $20M = 20M Flacco Dollars
Not so bad…six years of service from an “elite” quarterback at 20M per year until 2016 rolls around. The problem for the Ravens is they choose to take a cap hit of only 28.15M from 2012-2115 and will face a 28.5M cap hit in 2016. No problem, you say; the deal will just be restructured – but that is exactly what the problem is. The Ravens can’t simply turn his 18M salary into a signing bonus and spread it out over the remaining years. While it would drop the 2016 cap hit down to 16.55M it would create a cap hit of $37.15M in 2017 with dead money of $27.3, which is a worse position than they are trying to work out of. Forget a short-term extension for the same reasons; 2016 & 2017 would still start with the 10.75M for cap hits and 2018 with 4.75M from the old contract on top of the new money.
First of all, Flacco doesn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to in 2016. He can pull a 2012 maneuver and play for the 18M salary leaving the Ravens to deal with the 28.5M cap hit. Flacco’s in the driver’s seat here and looking to add to the Flacco dollar fortune.
Let’s say Generous Joe offers the Ravens the same deal he got in 2013, but since he’s driving the bus, bring his guarantee to 60M to keep up with the Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler families. It can’t be big guaranteed salaries like Cutler got, so he goes with a 50M signing bonus and 10M guaranteed option bonus for 2017. Flacco will still average his 20M per year in Flacco money, but the new cap hits will look like this:
2016 Salary $1M + 12M SB + 10.75M Misc = 23.75M cap hit
2017 Salary $1M + 12M SB + 10.75M Misc = 23.75M cap hit
2018 Salary $7M + 12M SB + 4.75M Misc = 23.75M cap hit
2019 Salary $11.75M + 12M SB = 23.75 cap hit
2020 Salary $23M + 12M SB = 35M cap hit (12M dead money at this point)
2021 Salary $23M = 23M cap hit –no dead money
This is all assuming Flacco is happy averaging 21M in Flacco dollars until 2021 when he’s 36. Increases in the cap over the years will lessen the impact, but starting in 2016, Flacco will either cost 24M a year in real money on the cap, or the Ravens will be eating real big dead money. It’s still not a bad deal if Flacco plays at an “elite” level all those years. Of course, if he doesn’t the deal he negotiated will haunt Ozzie and the Ravens for years. So enjoy the meager 15M cap hit in 2014 & 2015; the pay it now or pay it later cap charge hits in 2016.
The bottom line in Flacco dollars is that if you bought a Flacco #5 jersey, take good care of it. Win, Lose, or Draw, it has to last for quite a while.
Spot the Looney