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.
Breer: The price of winning
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.