Ravens expected to use franchise tag on Flacco
The Baltimore Ravens could have avoided these tough negotiations by offering Joe Flacco a contract last year but instead they let him play out his contract this year and post one of the most phenomenal postseason runs. Needless to say, the interest in Joe Falcco has increased many folds by the same teams who were previously willing to give-up two first-round picks for the Baltimore Ravens to make Flacco available on limited grounds through the non-exclusive franchise tag.
But the Baltimore Ravens are facing a tight salary cap situation due to which they can’t risk exposing Joe Flacco to free agency and later matching some other team’s frontloaded contract during the five day stretch.
With one option certainly out of the way, the Baltimore Ravens can either hammer out a deal by the March 4 deadline, the last date to announce to assign franchise tag to players. But if they fail the Baltimore Ravens could opt for the exclusive franchise tag (an expensive option for a one-year contract worth $19 million to $20 million).
The Baltimore Ravens announced they are saving the franchise tag for Joe Flacco, in case a deal isn’t completed by the deadline.
“We get a deal done with Joe, we will not franchise another player,” said Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome. “We will not do that.”
“You are OK with that, right?” Ozzie Newsome turned to ask Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti.
“Absolutely,” Steve Bisciotti sounded in agreement.
It means the Baltimore Ravens won’t be able to use the franchise tag on other key players heading on expiring contracts such as safety Ed Reed, and linebacker and Pau Kruger. The Baltimore Ravens could also potentially lose cornerback Cary Williams and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe in the free agency market. Ironically, this would deprive Joe Flacco of key weapons, hence questioning the merits of negotiating a long term deal.
Additionally, using the franchise tag could take a crushing blow on the Baltimore Ravens’ cap space, since they will have Joe Flacco’s salary, constituting to the average of five highest paid salaries at his position, on the books. Whereas, if the Baltimore Ravens succeed at inking a long-term contract, it will allow them to spread the cap hit over a couple of seasons rather than taking the entire salary count against the next season.
This year’s salary cap space is set estimated at $121 million to 121.5 million.