Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco celebrates with Mickey Mouse during a parade at… (Getty Images )
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco just led the Ravens through the playoffs and to a Super Bowl victory, throwing for 11 touchdowns and no interceptions along the way.
The Super Bowl MVP is set to be a free agent this off-season, and many are speculating that he might receive a salary in the $18-20 million range.
Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss whether Flacco deserves to be paid like an elite NFL quarterback and whether he ultimately will start receiving such paychecks. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment of your own.
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times
Tom Brady. Drew Brees. Aaron Rodgers. Peyton Manning. Pick an elite quarterback. Joe Flacco deserves that kind of money. He proved it over these playoffs, throwing 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. He proved it last year, when the Ravens would have made the Super Bowl but for Lee Evans dropping a touchdown pass that was in his hands.
Flacco is the unquestioned leader of the franchise, and a guy who has won at least one playoff game in each of his five seasons. Yes, the Ravens have been defined by their defense, but they’re transitioning out of that. It has become Flacco’s team. And at 28, he’s got at least a decade more in him. The Ravens will lock him up with a long-term deal and give him the kind of money he wants and deserves.
Chris Perkins, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Joe Flacco will get $18-20 million a year. And he deserves it. A year ago, I’d have said no. Winning a Super Bowl helps greatly. It’s a large factor when considering whether a quarterback could be considered “elite.”
I’m still not sure Flacco is “elite.” I have a narrow definition of the term. It takes longevity. If a quarterback has a subpar season and could still be considered in the upper echelon league-wide, he’s on his way to being considered elite. Passer rating, touchdowns/interceptions, and victories count, too.
Flacco is close enough to fit the “elite” criteria contract-wise. Pay the man.
Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune
Joe Flacco is a Super Bowl MVP, which puts him in some elite company. But he still is not as elite as the most elite in the NFL. He is not as elite, for instance, as $20-million man Drew Brees. Or $19.2-million man Peyton Manning. Or $15.7-million man Tom Brady. Or $15.2-million man Eli Manning. Or $10.8-million man Aaron Rodgers. You could debate if he is as elite as Ben Roethlisberger or Matt Ryan.
Flacco is in the second tier of quarterbacks. But given the timing of his performance and the leverage he has with an expiring contract, it is not likely at all that he will be paid like a second tier quarterback. His new contract probably will pay him like he is one of the best of the best.
[Updated at 1:14 p.m.:
Ron Fritz, Baltimore Sun
We’ll let Ravens coach John Harbaugh address his quarterback’s contract situation — "Pay him whatever he wants. Pay the man." This wasn’t after the Ravens' 34-31 win in Super Bowl XLVII. No, Harbaugh’s declaration about Joe Flacco’s contract came after the first game of the season, a 44-13 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football.
Imagine what leverage the Super Bowl MVP has after leading the Ravens to their second Super Bowl title. With Ray Lewis retiring, it’s Flacco’s team now. In the playoffs, the offense stepped up and nobody was bigger than Flacco. He completed 73 of 126 passes for 1,140 yards and 11 touchdowns, and had a passer rating of 117.2 in the postseason. He did not throw an interception.