OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The agent for Joe Flacco told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio that the Ravens quarterback isn't distracted by the fact that he is playing the final game of his current contract.
"Joe's focus is on the game," agent Joe Linta told Paolantonio. "My focus is to make sure the media focus is not on the contract. We'll deal with it in two weeks."
In watching Flacco this season, I never got the sense that he was worried about contract talks. The reason: he has nothing to worry about. This isn't the same situation as 2001, when the Ravens went to the Super Bowl with quarterback Trent Dilfer being a pending free agent.
The Ravens aren't going to let Flacco go anywhere. He's going to get paid. He was going to get paid even before he guided the Ravens to their first Super Bowl in 12 years.
The Ravens are going to either pay him between $16 million and $17 million on a new long-term deal or they're putting the projected $14.6 million franchise tag on him. Flacco isn't going anywhere and he has repeatedly said that.
General manager Ozzie Newsome repeated the sentiment that the focus shouldn't be on Flacco's contract and that will be addressed after the Super Bowl. Newsome, though, suggested that reaching the Super Bowl won't impact Flacco's new deal.
“At the end of the day, some people will look at what he does on Sunday afternoon, but I have an entire body of work to look at,” Newsome told the Baltimore Sun. “Joe sits right behind me on the plane rides home. I also know how he practices, how he works out during the offseason. I look to see how he interacts with players, how he reacts to losing, what type of leader he is. Again, it’s the entire body of work over five years.”
While I don't agree that a Lombardi Trophy does nothing to the new deal, it will certainly impact negotiations. If Flacco wins the Super Bowl, there will be increased public pressure for the Ravens to reward him and reward him handsomely.