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Flacco drops in best players poll voted on by peers

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Flacco drops in best players poll voted on by peers

Are there really 96 players in the NFL better than Joe Flacco? I don’t think so.

However, Flacco ranks No. 97 according to NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2015 voted on by players. Names 100 to 91 were revealed this week, and Flacco finished 97th, a significant drop from No. 58, where Flacco finished in 2014.

Ravens linebacker C. J. Mosley ranked ahead of Flacco at No. 94, after a superb rookie season that landed him in the Pro Bowl.

Flacco’s ranking doesn’t make much sense after he finished with career highs in touchdown passes (27) and throwing yards (3,986 yards), helping the Ravens reach the divisional round of the playoffs. Are there 96 players you would rather go to battle with in a playoff game than Flacco? If so, send me that list.

The debate on Flacco’s ranking among NFL quarterbacks never seems to die, and it won’t anytime soon. Part of that has to do with the six-year, $120.6 million contract Flacco signed after being the MVP of Super Bowl XLVII. Flacco’s salary cap number is set to nearly double after next season, from $14.55 million in 2015 to a whopping $28.55 million in 2016. The Ravens would like to restructure Flacco’s contract after next season to a more cap-friendly number. However, the better Flacco plays in 2015, the more leverage he will have in negotiations.

The Ravens helped Flacco in the draft with at least two weapons that should have an immediate impact – wide receiver Breshad Perriman, and tight end Maxx Williams. Running back Buck Allen could also be a rookie who earns regular time, and new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman is busy scheming various ways to utilize the Ravens’ talent.

Flacco doesn’t get caught up in the noise surrounding his contract, his ranking compared to other quarterbacks, or his image. Rarely will you find an athlete who appears to be more comfortable in his own skin.

However, you can believe Flacco is motivated to win another Super Bowl, and to put together his best season in 2015. Flacco may rank No. 97 in a players’ poll. But the most important player on the Ravens remains the guy wearing No. 5.

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."

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