The most anticipated contract talks of the offseason will begin Friday in Indianapolis. That's when the Ravens are scheduled to meet with the agent for Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Both sides want to get an agreement reached over the next 10 days. I would be surprised if they fail to get this lucrative deal done by March 4, the deadline to use the franchise tag.
The Ravens want the salary-cap room that comes with a long-term deal. Flacco wants the signing bonus and long-term security.
If the Ravens were willing to pay $16 million annually before the season, which was the speculation, Baltimore's starting point has to be at least $18 million per season, which is Tom Brady's neighborhood. Ultimately, it will come down to whether Flacco can surpass Peyton Manning ($19.2 million annual value) and current quarterback contract king Drew Brees ($20 million per year).
The Ravens have a history of paying a premium price for their star players. In 2000, the Ravens signed Jonathan Ogden to the largest contract ever for an NFL lineman. In 2002, Baltimore gave a then-NFL record $19 million signing bonus to linebacker Ray Lewis. In 2006, the Ravens made safety Ed Reed the highest paid safety in the game. And in 2009, Baltimore made Terrell Suggs the highest-paid linebacker.
Now, let's see if they set another mark with Flacco.