By Dustin Pritchard and Josh Bolles, 3.6.2013
“I assume everybody thinks they’re a top-five quarterback,” Flacco said when asked where he thinks he ranks among NFL quarterbacks. “I mean, I think I’m the best. I don’t think I’m top five, I think I’m the best. I don’t think I’d be very successful at my job if I didn’t feel that way. I mean, c’mon? That’s not really too tough of a question.”
The NY Times reported that Flacco was almost universally mocked for this. What did he do that season? You know what. He did what any secretly great QB does, win the Super Bowl and go to McDonald’s. In the history of contract years in the NFL, Joe Flacco’s 2012 season was the ultimate contract year.
In July of 2012, before naming himself the top QB in the league, he turned down an offer from Baltimore that would have given him $16 million a season, letting the team know that he thought he could improve and earn more. And earn more he did. On March 4, 2013 he signed a 6 year $120 million contract, making him the highest paid QB in the NFL. What a gamble. That takes some balls to be willing to risk whatever “universally mocked” pride you have left and turn down a $16 million contract on the whim and prospect that you can earn 4 million more with better effort. That is moxy folks.
The Flac attack has a lot of gifts. In terms of the intangibles everybody talks about when evaluating Quarterbacks, Joe Flacco’s confidence is considerable, obviously. But what about the tangibles? He has a cannon; one of the strongest arms in the league, and he’s a proven winner (54-26 regular season record and one Super Bowl). He seems like a plodder, but he ran a 4.8 40 yard dash (by comparison notably mobile Aaron Rodgers ran a 4.77). His accuracy and efficiency are underrated (86.3 career QB percentage), and he has never missed a start (80 straight). He’s way better than you think he is.
The Ravens offense is mostly set and likely will be more dynamic than last year. Two guys on the verge of a true breakout, WR Torrey Smith and TE Dennis Pitta are locked up. TE Ed Dickson is a free agent, and will probably make a good TE on another team, but it wouldn’t make sense to resign him in a deep TE market. WR Anquan Boldin is locked up for one more year. There’s a small chance he could be released due to a few key defensive free agents, in that situation he said he would retire, but we bet he will be a Raven in 2013. Joe is loaded with receiving options (that’s all without mentioning one of the best pass catching running backs in the league, Ray Rice.)
The Ravens will probably air it out a bit more in 2013 with OC Jim Caldwell who, for Joe Flacco, was a revelation. His 11-0 2012 playoff TD to INT ratio is the best ever (tied with Joe Montana), and speaks loudly. GM Ozzie Newsome was obviously justified for his firing of former OC Cam Cameron. It was such a good choice by the Ravens that even Cameron said it was a good decision to go with Caldwell.
We have a fact for you, the Baltimore Ravens defense will be worse in 2013 than they were in 2012. OK we can’t prove that exactly, but just… shhhhh… just go with it ok? Real talk, future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis is retired, key Linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger are both free agents, as is other future Hall of Famer Safety Ed Reed. They will not be able to keep all of these guys, and losing any of these players will really hurt.
If the defense is worse, than it is giving up more points and letting Joe Flacco and Co., because it is his team now, play the catch up game, which is really fun for fantasy teams (just ask last year’s Carson Palmer owners).
Lets also remember Joe Flacco is entering the prime of his career (28 years old). Going into his 6th season, no NFL QB in history has as many wins (54) at this point in their career. Joe Flacco is primed for a breakout season.
TIP: Account for players entering their prime years (for QB it happens around age 28-30).
We do not advocate drafting Wocko Flacco Flame as your starting QB in 1QB, 10 team leagues. In that scenario you would like to nab him as a backup cheap and enjoy the profit. In leagues that start 2 QB, he is a QB2 with fringe QB1 upside. He is our #15 QB.