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Ravens have a potential mess in 2016 with Flacco contract

AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22: Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates after a touchdown to tie up the game against the New England Patriots in the second quarter during their AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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In early 2013, quarterback Joe Flacco bet on himself, won the lottery, took full advantage of his leverage, and secured a six-year, $120.6 million contract.

The Ravens loaded more than half of the cash into the first three years of the deal, but constructed very manageable cap numbers of $6.8 million in 2013, $14.8 million in 2014, and $14.55 million in 2015.

Next year, that changes. Dramatically.

Flacco’s cap number shoots to $28.55 million in 2016, and then pushes to $31.15 million in 2017. The cap number for the final year of the deal is $24.75 million.

During a Wednesday conference call with season-ticket holders, owner Steve Bisciotti expressed a high degree of confidence that Flacco will be “very amenable” to a contractual adjustment. But a simple restructuring won’t be easy to do, since any salary converted to signing bonus would be spread over three years. Also, with the cap number for 2017 due to be $31.15 million, kicking the can from 2016 would serve only to jack up the cap number even farther beyond $30 million the following year.

So the Ravens will need Flacco to agree to an extension. Which means that Flacco will once again hold the cards. If he says, “No, I’m fine with my contract,” will the Ravens increase their offer on a new deal -- or will the Ravens cut him loose?

While the situation won’t reach full boil until next February or March, it will loom over the 2015 Ravens, with plenty of talk and rumors and speculation about what eventually will happen with Flacco as of 2016.