Will Joe Flacco's deal affect Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan?
- By Kareem Copeland
- Updated: March 1, 2013 at 10:04 p.m.
Somewhere Aaron Rodgers is smiling. He should be, at least.
The Baltimore Ravens and quarterback Joe Flacco have agreed to a six-year deal that makes him the highest paid player in the NFL, NFL.com's Albert Breer reported. That pushes the number past $120 million.
Rodgers' current deal expires after the 2014 season and the Green Bay Packers already are clearing cap space for their franchise quarterback and linebacker Clay Matthews. There are no is-he-or-isn't-he elite questions when it comes to No. 12. Rodgers has a Super Bowl MVP, a regular-season MVP and all kinds of gaudy statistics on his resume. He stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints in the best-quarterback-alive argument.
If Flacco surpassed $120 million, what will Rodgers command? Not just more, but how much more?
Then there's Matt Ryan in Atlanta. He and Flacco both came into the league in 2008. Ryan was drafted No. 3 overall while Flacco went No. 18. Ryan has the better regular-season numbers (18,957 yards, 127 touchdowns, 60 interceptions, 62.7 completion percentage), but Flacco (17,633, 102, 56, 60.5 percent) has more playoff success and a Super Bowl MVP award. Both the Falcons and Ravens improved in 2012 when they turned to pass-first offenses.
The Falcons are in the same position as the Ravens were, with little leverage. This is Ryan's team and he took it to the NFC Championship last season. There's no way Ryan is allowed to walk.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports there have yet to be serious talks between the Falcons and Ryan. Will they want to go into the season without a long-term deal being reached? Atlanta can, but the Ravens would have gotten Flacco for cheaper had they signed him beforehand. Will the Falcons take a similar risk?
Either way, Ryan will be right in Flacco's ballpark. Rodgers will certainly surpass it -- unless he's giving some serious hometown discounts.
Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.