Just 23 months later, Flacco is getting close to dropping out of the top 10.
Flacco's $22.1 million per-year average dropped to No. 7 on Thursday after quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo agreed to a five-year, $137.5 million deal (an average of $27.5 million) with the San Francisco 49ers, according to the NFL Network. Flacco probably will fall further on the list after the likely bidding war for quarterback Kirk Cousins in free agency and the new deals for Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers this offseason.
In terms of average per year, Flacco now ranks behind Garoppolo, Matthew Stafford ($27 million), Derek Carr ($25 million), Andrew Luck ($24.5 million), Drew Brees ($24.2 million) and Alex Smith ($23.5 million).
It can be argued that Flacco's deal is a bargain when considering his playoff success. He's 10-5 (.667) in the postseason while the other six higher-paid quarterbacks are a combined 12-17 (.413). Only Brees has won a Super Bowl like Flacco among the seven highest-paid passers.
But Flacco still lags far behind in production in the regular season. Flacco finished last season as the NFL's No. 25 rated passer at 80.1. Smith, Brees, Stafford and Garoppolo all were in the top 10, and Carr was No. 20. Luck missed the entire season with a shoulder injury.
Flacco's $24.7 million cap hit in 2018 ranks No. 4 in the league and takes up a chunk of space for a team looking to add offensive playmakers. The Ravens are financially committed to Flacco for a couple more years. His cap savings don't outweigh his dead money until after the 2019 season.
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti made it clear that Flacco remains in the team's foreseeable plans.
"I think that you can think about life after Joe, but most of the franchise quarterbacks ... I don't know of any franchise quarterbacks that are retiring at 33, 34, 35 anymore -- none of them," Bisciotti said earlier this month. "Eli [Manning] and Ben [Roethlisberger] and our friend up in New England [Tom Brady], they're all staying [at] 35, 36, 37 -- Drew Brees. So no, that's not really something that we're worried about right now. We've got bigger fish to fry, I guess."