Our friends at Pro Football Focus believe Joe Flacco's record-setting contract carries bust potential. It's an Insider article, so you'll need a subscription to read the entire post. Let's just address two of the issues presented:
Pro Football Focus: Of 38 quarterbacks who attempted at least 175 passes, Flacco had the 33rd (or sixth-worst) adjusted accuracy percentage (a stat that accounts for drops, spikes and throwaways), behind guys such as Blaine Gabbert, Nick Foles and Sam Bradford. In part, the Ravens got to the postseason in spite of him, with his play on the field largely forgettable at times.
Rebuttal defending Flacco: It's an exaggeration to say the Ravens went to the postseason in spite of him. It's absolutely true that Flacco struggled with consistency and hardly looked like a Super Bowl MVP at points during the regular season. Still, in 10 wins in 2012, Flacco threw 14 touchdowns and four interceptions for a 97.6 passer rating. By that standard, Flacco played a big part in winning games and getting Baltimore to the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season.
Pro Football Focus: Roughly speaking, if he could repeat his four-game postseason performance in a regular season, then, in our performance-based value calculations, Flacco would be worth roughly $15 million per year, which would be second among all quarterbacks.
Rebuttal: The problem is, the Ravens aren't paying him solely on what he accomplished in the postseason, although it would be safe to say he could name his price as the Super Bowl MVP. You can justify what Baltimore gave Flacco based on his playoff performance over the past three years. Since 2010, Flacco 6-2 in the postseason with 18 touchdowns and two interceptions. He would've guided the Ravens to consecutive Super Bowls if Lee Evans had held onto the ball in the end zone in the AFC Championship Game. Plus, Baltimore sees this as an investment in a 28-year-old quarterback who is entering his prime.