Reporting Daryl Ruiter
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Could the Cleveland Browns possibly steal Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco from Baltimore?
Not likely, but it is possible.
Everything depends on what Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome does with Flacco, who is scheduled to become a free agent after completing his rookie contract on March 12.
Flacco’s agent, Joe Linta, reportedly is seeking a “top-5″ quarterback payday which would put him in the $18-to-$20-million-per-year club that former Super Bowl MVPs Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning live in.
Brady as halfway through a 4-year, $72-million extension signed in 2010. Brees received a 5-year, $100-million contract before the 2012 season started and Manning signed a 5-year, $96-million deal with Denver last March.
Flacco, who is 28, has won a league best 63 games in his first 5 seasons since being drafted 18th overall in 2008 and is 9-4 in the playoffs.
Should the cap challenged Ravens, who are currently estimated to be as much as $5 million over the 2013 cap, be unable to sign Flacco to a long-term contract, Newsome could easily apply the franchise tag to Flacco.
But the key is which one would they use?
The one-year tag for quarterbacks is expected to be about $14.642 million this coming season. However, the “exclusive rights” franchise tag, which wouldn’t allow Flacco to even talk to anther team, will cost about $20 million in 2013 and force the Ravens to trim even more significant cap space then they already have to.
Should Newsome apply the “non-exclusive” tag, the Browns, who have over $45 million in cap space available to play with, could sign Flacco to an offer sheet that would make it nearly impossible for the Ravens to be able to match.
If Baltimore didn’t match the offer, the Browns would then have to send 2 1st round draft picks to the Ravens as compensation.
Teams can begin using the franchise tag designation from Feb. 18 through Mar. 4 and would then have until July 15 to negotiate a multiyear contract.
Although the chances of the Ravens applying the “non exclusive” tag to Flacco are slim to none, there is always a chance.
But it’s a thin as a sheet of paper.