NFL

Ravens and Flacco's agent to meet this weekend at combine

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Associated Press
2/19/2013 4:13:55 PM
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The Baltimore Ravens and Joe Flacco's agent plan to meet this weekend in their first attempt to reach a new contract for the Super Bowl MVP.

Joe Linta will be in Indianapolis at the NFL's scouting combine for the first negotiations since August. After the team and Flacco couldn't agree on an extension or a new deal last summer, Flacco played out the final year of his rookie contract -- and struck it big.

He led the Ravens to the AFC North title, then to playoff victories over Indianapolis, Denver and New England before beating San Francisco in the Super Bowl. Flacco had 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions in the post-season.

Flacco made less than $6.76 million in 2012, and even if the Ravens franchise him, he would at least double that salary for next season.

The going rate for a non-exclusive franchise quarterback is $14.6 million for one season. Other teams could make an offer to Flacco under that tag, with the Ravens having the right to match it -- or let him go and receive two first-round draft picks in return.

Should the Ravens put the exclusive franchise tag on Flacco, they would owe him $20.46 million for 2013 and he could not negotiate with other teams. But he'd only get a one-year deal.

The highest-paid QBs in the NFL are Drew Brees of New Orleans at an average of $20 million a year, and Peyton Manning of Denver at $18 million.

Linta points out that Flacco has as many NFL championships as each of them, and he is 28.

"The onus is on them to make a move after this week," Linta said during Super Bowl week. "I would guess they want to keep him. He's 28, in the prime of his football life, has never missed a game. His resume on the table is outstanding and his future is even brighter."

The only other quarterback on Baltimore's roster is inexperienced Tyrod Taylor.

Before the Super Bowl, owner Steve Bisciotti expressed confidence that Flacco would be the Ravens' quarterback of the future.

"We've never lost a great, great franchise player from the beginning," Bisciotti said. "I'm just very comfortable that it will get done."

Flacco was a first-round draft pick in 2008 out of Delaware. He's the only quarterback to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons. He passed Eli Manning for most road victories in the post-season when Baltimore won the AFC championship at New England.

In a league where passing records are set nearly every year and a franchise quarterback has become essential to winning a championship, it's rare for someone to even reach the verge of free agency.

And Flacco said himself after the Super Bowl victory that he expected to be back in Baltimore.

"I'm pretty optimistic, but who knows?" he said. "This is a great organization, I love being here, great city. So I don't anticipate any problems."

Joe Flacco (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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