Flacco, Ravens agree on contract
In a little more than a two-month span, Joe Flacco went from a much-maligned quarterback to the Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl XLVII...
BALTIMORE — In a little more than a two-month span, Joe Flacco went from a much-maligned quarterback to the Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl XLVII to the highest-paid player in the history of the NFL.
The Ravens agreed to terms with Flacco on a six-year deal worth $120.6 million Friday night, according to team and league sources. There are still some issues to be worked out, but the 28-year-old quarterback is expected to be at team headquarters Monday to finalize the deal.
"We have the parameters of a deal completed with Joe," said Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome in a statement released by the team. "We still have some language and details that need to be worked out."
Once the deal is complete, the contract would make Flacco the highest-paid player in league history, surpassing New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Seven months ago, Brees signed a five-year, $100 million deal that included $61 million guaranteed over the first three years of the pact. Flacco is due to make more than Brees in the first three years of his contract, according to sources.
For Flacco, the new deal validates his belief that he is one of the game's elite quarterbacks and his decision before the 2012 season to play out the final year of his rookie contract despite an offer from Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to pay him a salary in line with a top-five quarterback.
For the Ravens, it accomplishes their top offseason priority and once and for all solidifies Flacco's status as the franchise quarterback.
Flacco erased all doubt by playing one of the best postseasons ever by an NFL quarterback, throwing 11 touchdown passes with no interceptions as the Ravens won four playoff games, the last being a 34-31 victory over the favored San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl in New Orleans on Feb. 3.
Flacco was technically eligible to hit free agency on March 12, but the Ravens were determined not to let him get to the open market, where a number of quarterback-needy teams would almost certainly have pounced.
• Players already affixed with franchise tags are Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd at $6.916 million, Indianapolis punter Pat McAfee at $2.977 million, Cincinnati defensive end Michael Johnson at $11.175 million, Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady at $9.828 million and Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton at $8.45 million.
The other tags for franchise players are $14.896 million for quarterbacks, $10.854 million for cornerbacks, $10.537 million for wide receivers, $9.828 million for offensive linemen, $9.619 million for linebackers, $8.219 million for running backs and $6.066 million for tight ends.
• The Atlanta Falcons released three key players from the most successful era in franchise history: running back Michael Turner, defensive end John Abraham and cornerback Dunta Robinson. The moves were not unexpected given their age (all in their 30s) and hefty salaries.
Still, it was a stunning start to Atlanta's offseason makeover, especially for a team that came up just short of the Super Bowl. In one swoop, the Falcons let go their top rusher, their leader in sacks and a starter in the secondary.
The moves free up about $16 million in salary-cap space, money general manager Thomas Dimitroff intends to use to build a younger roster.
• The Carolina Panthers cut starting defensive tackle Ron Edwards in a move that frees up $2.5 million in salary-cap space.