Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens have both been heavily criticized for the six-year, $120.6 million deal the sides agreed upon this winter, but according to Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, the entire situation could have been avoided.
The news comes from USA Today Sports' Jim Corbett:
Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, told USA Today Sports that such perceptions are misguided because the Ravens had the chance to provide their own cap relief last August when Flacco walked away from a five-year extension that would have averaged $16 million a year, including last year's $6.7 million left on his rookie contract.
The impasse could have been averted had the Ravens stepped up over what Linta said was an extra $1 million in the final year.
The dispute was about "$1 million six years from now, in the base salary non-guaranteed money, and they walked away," Linta said. "It cost them $35 million. So I have no sympathy. None."
Linta proceeded to call the move by the Ravens the dumbest he has ever seen.
On Tuesday, May 28, Linta defended his comments on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore. NBC's Mike Florio has the latest from Linta:
'I’d been hearing that for about three months now,' Linta said. 'And after a while you get sick of it because Joe is a consummate pro, he’s a phenomenal player, a great father, a great husband, and a great son. And to be honest with you in sort of a parental mode I’d kind of gotten sick of the intimations that he was greedy and that type of thing. And I said, ‘Look, I have no sympathy for the Ravens. They chose this. They walked away from the deal in August.’
'Look, they’re brilliant guys. They won a Super Bowl. But I thought it was dumb. Look, if that’s the worst thing that they get called in their existence, then they got a pretty good situation. They know how I feel. Everything I was quoted [on], I told them that in August. This is not news to them. It’s how I feel. I’m allowed to have my opinion...'
...'The bottom line is I do have tremendous respect for them. I always have. But am I allowed to disagree with them? Absolutely.'
Flacco's new contract seriously hindered the versatility of the team this offseason, as the defending champs were forced to trade Anquan Boldin and let Ed Reed, Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger—all crucial to the team's success—depart via free agency.
If the sides were indeed so close to a much more reasonable deal from the Ravens' perspective, as Linta claims, then that was undeniably a major oversight by the organization.
During the regular season, Flacco had a year that—at least from a statistical standpoint—was extremely similar to his past three, throwing for 3,817 yards, 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
It's quite possible that after seeing their QB achieve just his third-best QB rating in his past four campaigns, the Ravens had drawn a line in the sand in terms of a new contract and weren't willing to budge beyond that line.
Even if it was only $1 million.
In the playoffs, however, Flacco changed their minds.
The polarizing QB threw for 1,140 yards, 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions en route to four postseason wins and a Super Bowl ring to earn his hefty new contract.
As a result, Baltimore will likely be forced to attempt to restructure the deal before the 2016 season, when it balloons to a staggering $28.55 million.
Knowing just how close Baltimore was to saving loads of money in the long run might be a difficult pill to swallow for Ravens fans, but there's nothing anyone can do about it now.