Joe Flacco, Ravens agree to 3-year extension
BALTIMORE >> Joe Flacco pocketed several million dollars and the Baltimore Ravens saved valuable salary cap space after the quarterback signed a three-year extension Wednesday.
Flacco received an NFL-record $40 million signing bonus to extend the six-year, $120.6 million contract he received in 2013 after earning Super Bowl MVP honors. The pact includes $44 million in guaranteed money — the signing bonus plus a $4 million base salary in 2016.
If a new deal hadn't been made, Flacco's salary cap hit to the club this season would have been $28.55 million. But Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome insisted the team's motivation was to keep the 31-year-old quarterback through the 2021 season.
"We did not do a deal to gain cap room. We did a deal so Joe Flacco could be on this football team for the next six years," Newsome said.
Newsome did, however, add: "The cap will take care of itself. But, is it going to be helpful? Yes."
Flacco said both sides got together for the good of the Ravens.
"It's all about winning football games. Once this thing is signed and over with, that's all that we're worried about," Flacco said. "This gives us the best chance to move forward. Over the next six years, it's a huge window to go win another Super Bowl, another two, another three, whatever it may be. At the end of the day, that's our goal."
Flacco never missed a game with the Ravens until last season, when torn ligaments in his left knee in Week 11 ended his consecutive-games streak of 122. Prior to the injury, Flacco had five 300-yard passing games — tied for his career high.
His durability is not taken for granted by the Ravens, especially Newsome.
"As we move forward, hopefully for the regular season and the playoffs and the Super Bowl, Joe Flacco is the guy under center," Newsome said. "It was different to walk out to a practice and Joe Flacco not being under center for me this past year. It was very different."
So was the Ravens' record: 5-11.
Although it's difficult to determine if Flacco will be ready for the 2016 opener, he remains optimistic.
"I feel like it's going really well," he said. "I don't have any real outlook on what the future's going to bring, but I know that I'm attacking it 100 percent every day and doing the best I can. I'm going to be back out there and healthier than ever and stronger than ever."
Flacco has racked up 85 wins, including playoffs, since starting in Week 1 of his rookie season of 2008. In 122 games, Flacco has completed 2,479 of 4,070 passes for 28,322 yards and 162 touchdowns.
He's won 10 games in the postseason, including seven on the road — most by a quarterback in NFL history.
"On his shoulders stands the success of this organization over the last eight years," Newsome said.
Flacco holds most of the franchise records for quarterbacks, but his glitzy numbers are secondary to fulfilling team goals.
"My biggest priority is winning and going out there and being the best football player I can be over the rest of my career," he said. "I want a little help, and I want to go out there and just win another Super Bowl. I remember how good that feels."