The Ravens probably could've gotten a deal done last summer, locked up Flacco with Philip Rivers-type money and rolled into a secure future. Instead, the Ravens chose to wait, then watched as their quarterback put together one of the greatest postseason runs ever in leading Baltimore to a Super Bowl title.
Not only did Flacco establish himself as a premiere quarterback, he hit the leverage lotto.
Now the Ravens must pay for their hesitation. Pro Football Talk reported Sunday that, even before Flacco's playoff run, multiple teams had considered giving up two first-round draft picks if the Ravens exposed Flacco to limited free agency through the non-exclusive franchise tag.
If Flacco were signed to the non-exclusive tag, any team could negotiate a deal with the quarterback, which would then give the Ravens five days to either match or pass and collect two first-round picks. Given their tight salary-cap situation, the Ravens want no part of another team frontloading a contract they can't match. The NFL deadline for application of the franchise tag is March 4.
That leaves the Ravens two options: Get a long-term deal done on Flacco's terms (insert blank check here) or use the exclusive franchise tag (which will end up being a one-year deal worth $19 million to $20 million).
These are your choices. We hope you enjoyed the parade.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.