Joe Flacco, unhappy with the extension offers he was getting from the Baltimore Ravens prior to the 2012 season, decided to play out the string of his final contract year and see what would happen after the 2012-13 campaign. As everyone likes to say, he ‘bet on himself’ that year in an effort to prove what his true value was to the team.
After going 4-0 in those playoffs, winning the Super Bowl, and doing it with a postseason TD/INT ratio of 11:0, Flacco earned all the leverage in the world in his next deal which ended up being a 6-year, $120.6M monstrosity that at the time was the biggest contract in NFL history. This was also the first time the word “Elite” was attached to the former Delaware Blue Hen.
It should have also been the last.
Since the 2013 season began, Joe Flacco has led the Ravens to a 24-25 record, completed a (to be kind) modest 61% of his passes and has a backup quarterback-like TD/INT ratio of 65:52. However, that did not stop the Ravens from extending his contract (due to the cap strains caused by the latter years in the 2013 deal) by another three seasons this past March which theoretically keeps him in the pilot’s seat through 2021.
This year, he has a cringeworthy Yards Per Attempt average of 5.9, a 5:6 TD/INT ratio and a 3-4 record. All at a cap charge of $22.55M. The Ravens are not getting today what they paid handsomely for in 2013.
Why is Joe Flacco’s professional career path noteworthy now? Because an eerily similar scenario is playing out just 33 miles away in Landover, MD.
Sometimes you’ll hear a song for the first time, get caught up in the rhythm, and end up surprised that you find it catchy. So you look forward to hearing it again, telling people how much you like the song and enjoy how it makes you feel when you hear it.
Then, after a while, the positive vibes begin to erode and you begin to notice that it isn’t actually a lyrically well-written tune. The once-catchy beat begins to assault your ear canal when you realize there’s not much substance to it and ultimately you become quickly irritated at the mere thought of having to listen to that song anymore. You delete it from your memory and hope no one remembers how much you gushed over it the year prior.
This is the audio equivalent of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s tenure with the Jets. He is “Blurred Lines” in human form.
In week 5, the quarterbacks played well again in totality, averaging 66% accuracy for 270 yards with a TD:INT ration of 15:4. This represents a 15 yard increase per man over week 4 with a significant reduction in interceptions (10 to 4).
As you peruse the season-to-date stats below, you’ll see that the letter grades for each QB are still too jumbled to reflect a distinct trend between money paid to QB’s and superior performance.
There are some strong indicators forming but also just enough outlier performances to refrain from rushing to judgment.
We introduced this piece last week as one that will follow the trials and tribulations of the quarterbacks and interior defensive linemen that signed new contracts during the spring of 2016. Week 4 saw quite a few impressive performances from both positions. Let’s see who was the best and worst of their respective groupings.
During each NFL offseason, fans of all 32 NFL teams tie up the phone lines to local sports talk radio stations with belated Christmas wish lists comprised of soon-to-be free agents that people are certain will make the difference between competing for a Super Bowl or once again languishing in football no-man’s land.
Rarely does heavy involvement in free agency spur long-term improvement in teams, but the lure of available, talented players and the pressures of Must-Win-NOW jobs are often too titillating for GM’s and coaches to resist. After these expensive assets are bought, unwrapped and loved-on by the team’s fan base for a while, they tend to be quickly relegated to the afterthought pile.