Donít think it went unnoticed among the Green Bay Packersí hierarchy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers that Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is looking for a Drew Brees-type contract.
Itís yet another reminder that the Packers probably are better off moving sooner rather than later on renegotiating Rodgersí contract.
Flacco has plenty of leverage with the Ravens because the team didnít extend his contract last offseason and heíll be an unrestricted free agent this March, though if it gets that far the Ravens presumably will designate him their franchise player. On Monday, ESPNís John Clayton reported Flacco will be looking for a deal similar to Breesí five-year, $100 million contract that includes $40 million in guaranteed money signed last July.
But for all Flacco, 28, has done in helping the Ravens get to the Super Bowl, heís not among the premier quarterbacks in the league.
Passer rating isnít the be-all and end-all, but itís one of several barometers to measure quarterbacks, and Flaccoís 87.7 rating this season ranked No. 12 in the NFL and was well below Rodgers (108.0) and Brees (96.3). Also, over the last three years combined, Flaccoís 87.2 rating is No. 14 among quarterbacks with at least 30 starts. Rodgers is first (110.7) and Brees is third (99.3).
Flaccoís strongest argument is his won-loss record, where since he became a starter in í08 heís 54-26 in the regular season, which is just ahead of Rodgers (52-26) and Brees (52-27). That and the leverage he has an unrestricted free agent, even with the possibility of getting the franchise tag, mean he might have a shot at a deal at least in Breesí ballpark.
The new franchise-tag rules mean that if a player is tagged in back-to-back years, he in the second season makes 120 percent of the previous year, and if heís franchised a third straight year, he makes 144 percent. Last year the tag for quarterbacks was relatively cheap at $14.4 million, but it will go up at least a little this year. Also, teams much prefer signing their quarterbacks long term than having them unhappy playing for the tag, and at 28 years old Flacco is in his prime.
Rodgersí contract doesnít run out until after the 2014 season, but heís horribly underpaid at an average of $9.3 million a year, so the Packers appear more likely to address his contract this year. With a deal for Flacco possibly coming up, that could be incentive for the Packers to do a new contract with Rodgers first, because if Flacco gets anything like Brees money, Rodgersí price only skyrockets.