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Joe Flacco could get Baltimore Ravens' franchise tag

Joe Flacco hasn't exactly lit the world on fire like he expected to in 2012. The Baltimore Ravens quarterback proclaimed the price tag would only go up the longer he remained unsigned during his contract year.

Flacco didn't step into that Tom Brady/Aaron Rodgers/Drew Brees/Peyton Manning echelon, but the doesn't mean Baltimore will let him walk as a free agent. NFL.com's Albert Breer reported the Ravens are prepared to place the franchise tag on Flacco if he's not signed before March.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome would be foolish to let him walk. Sure, Flacco isn't in that "elite" class that people love to talk about, but teams like the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills (just to name a few) would love to have him under center.

The Ravens signal-caller is on pace for a career-high 3,970 yards, 22 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He averaged 3,614 yards, 22 touchdowns and 11 interceptions from 2009-11.

Flacco surely doesn't want the franchise tag, which would mean having to do this all over again in 2013, but the Ravens won't let him walk. And Flacco will eventually get paid like one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.

Breer noted that Ravens safety Ed Reed could be affected by the Flacco situation. If Flacco gets tagged, then it wouldn't be available for Reed, who will also be a free agent.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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