The posturing has begun regarding Joe Flacco's contract, which is clearly the elephant in the room this offseason for the Ravens.
Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, went on the Glenn Clark Radio show on Thursday and said no negotiations are taking place with the Ravens right now, and as for a whopping quarterback cap figure? Hey, that's the cost of doing business in today's NFL.
Flacco's six-year, $120 million deal he signed in 2013 was very cap friendly for the Ravens the first three years, but that is about to change. His cap figure in 2015 was $14.5 million, but that jumps to more than $28 million in 2016, which would be the second-highest cap hit in the league (Drew Brees -- for now -- has a $30 million cap hit according to spotrac.com, which tracks player contracts). And Flacco's cap number jumps to more than $31 million in 2017.
The way Flacco's deal was structured, it seemed inevitable that the Ravens and Flacco, who turns 31 this month, would sit down three years into the deal -- basically now -- and find a way to lower those remaining cap figures. Heck, even Linta said as much.
"I'm not apologetic for the fact this is really a three-year deal," Linta told USA Today three years ago. "There's no way they can afford $29 million a couple of years from now."
Fast forward three years, and Linta told Glenn Clark that a $28 million cap hit "is what it is. I mean, that's the price of these types of quarterbacks. Every deal that's going to be done is going to be in that realm."
Linta suggested that a rising cap -- expected to rise 2 to 8 percent, to somewhere in the $147 million to $155 million range -- makes a $28 million cap hit less pronounced than it would have been three years ago.
It's no surprise that Linta would take that stance, and it's also no surprise that Ozzie Newsome would suggest, as he did at the "State of the Ravens" news conference on Thursday, that the Ravens will have a strategy in place in case they can't lower Flacco's cap hit.
But they will. Regardless of what Linta and Newsome said, both sides know a restructuring is coming. Linta can get Flacco an extension that will add some years to the deal while lowering the initial cap hit. The Ravens, with a lower cap hit on Flacco's deal, will have more resources to upgrade the roster, which they definitely need to do after a 5-11 season.
It makes sense for both sides.