The Ravens, as I am sure you know, Are in a bit of a pickle with the status of free-agent-to-be Joe Flacco. The two sides now have less than 6 days to get the deal done. Tick, tock.
The Ravens are in a bind here, Joe Flacco holds pretty much 100% of the leverage in this situation. If they want to lowball him, Flacco will just wait until the tag deadline and force the Ravens into an even tougher decision. He can do the same if the Ravens dont meet his every whim. Flacco knows the tag deadline is the big day. The Ravens have to make a choice on Monday if no deal has been reached. They can either tag him with the exclusive rights tag or the non-exclusive tag. Neither is a good option.
The exclusive tag carries a 19.6 million cap hit(before Tom Brady signed his extension it was a 20.4 million hit, Thank you Tom Brady). Essentially, if the Ravens tag Flacco, there is a very good chance they lose Reed, Ellerbe, Cary Williams and Paul Kruger and they might even have to release Jacoby Jones, Vonta Leech or Anquan Boldin. At best they could probably home to keep 2 of those 7 players, they might get away with extending Jones and keeping the Jones Boldin and Ellerbe. That is the absolute best they could possibly hope for. More likely, the Ravens would keep Jones and maybe Boldin and the rest would be gone.
The Non-exclusive tag might be worse. It only carries a 14.6 million cap number, but that extra 5 million would enable them to take a run at keeping 4-5 of those seven guys. The biggest one is Ellerbe. If Flacco gets the exclusive tag, Ellerbe is almost certainly gone. Reed is definitely gone. Kruger is gone one way or the other and some team is going to overpay for Williams so he is gone as well. The downside to the non-exclusive tag is that it allows Flacco to shop his value. I dont honestly believe that Flacco wants to or will leave Baltimore, but letting him go out and gather more and more leverage in the form of ridiculous offers from the Browns and Cardinals. There is also the possibility that Flacco will get an offer like 135-145 millions from the Browns because they are desperate to make a splash. 145 million is a lot of money to walk away from regardless of whether you want to play in Cleveland or not.
The word on the street is that the Ravens arent even seriously considering the exclusive tag and that they are willing to gamble on the non-exclusive tag. Last year, I would have supported that decision. This year, not so much. Last year, The Ravens could have used the number one picks the Browns would have had to pay up for Flacco(this years and next years) to go get Robert Griffen or worst case scenario they could have snagged Tannehille or something. This year the best they could hope for is to get Geno Smith or trade out and try and get a third 1st rounder for next year which they could use to go get a QB. doesnt it just make more sense to keep the one you have?
The Ravens have six days, lets avoid all this tag nonsense and just get a deal done. Newsflash for the Ravens, you have no leverage. you lost it when you didnt sign Flacco last year, just like Flacco gained it when he decided not to take a lower offer than he felt he was worth. Just get the first two years cap number down and pay him whatever it takes. 100 million plus? where do I sign? Tick, tock. Guys, time is running out.