Dec 29, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) is hit in the backfield by Cincinnati Bengals free safety Reggie Nelson (20) and defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) during the second quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Does Joe Flacco's Performance Still Justify His Contract?

When Joe Flacco signed his (briefly) record breaking, $120.6 million dollar contract last offseason, he came off looking like a pure genius.  Word is talks in 2012 broke down over a mere $1 million, and Flacco ended up getting a whole lot more than that after leading the Ravens on an improbable late season rally to the Super Bowl.

Surely the Ravens wish they would have paid that extra million at the time, but they still didn’t overpay.  Franchise quarterbacks are in high demand these days, and if you have one still stuck in a cheap rookie contract you might as well go ahead and call Brinks.  With each new quarterback contract we see a new record, and that trend doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon.

But after last season’s regression, doubts can be raised over whether Flacco will live up to his lofty contract.  In reality, he has had one great run in his career with no real sustained success.  He was exposed last season by the lack of a running game and poor pass protection.

A few months after Flacco signed his new mega deal, the Atlanta Falcons locked up their franchise quarterback, Matt Ryan. Both were taken in the first round of the 2008 draft – Ryan went #3 overall and Flacco came off the board with the 18th pick.  They were the only two quarterbacks taken in the first round of 2008.

Both Ryan and Flacco seemingly regressed last season, but both had to overcome horrible offensive line play, injuries, and the complete lack of a running game.

$52 million of Flacco’s six year, $120.6 million dollar contract was fully guaranteed, with $62 million paid out in the first three years. Ryan’s five year deal is worth $103.75 million with $59 million guaranteed and $63 million in the first three years.  Ryan gets more guaranteed money and more up front, but realistically these deals will be revisited after three years anyway. On paper, they are pretty similar.  Pretty fitting for two guys with similar career paths.

Let’s take a look at how the two compare on the field.

Joe Flacco

3,103 pass attempts
1,869 completions
60.2% completion percentage
21,545 yards
6.9 yards average per attempt
121 touchdowns
78 interceptions
83.7 QB rating

Matt Ryan

3,288 pass attempts
2,093 completions
63.7% completion percentage
23,472 yards
7.1 yards average per attempt
153 touchdowns
77 interceptions
90.6 QB rating

Bottom line, the numbers are pretty similar especially considering Ryan plays in a more pass oriented offense.  Ryan is certainly more accurate and arguably better in the red zone.  One could easily attribute the touchdown variation to play calling.  Both Ryan and Flacco seemingly regressed last season, but both had to overcome horrible offensive line play, injuries, and the complete lack of a running game.

Do you think Joe Flacco will bounce back this season and earn his mega contract?

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Tags: Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco Matt Ryan

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