Wildly spitting curses at the dirty Ravens won't change the fact that Baltimore won the Super Bowl, though it does give some pleasure that the last team to beat Baltimore was your own Cincinnati Bengals (backups not withstanding). Since an offseason can change everything with a team's dynamic -- especially those sporting older veterans or superstar franchise quarterbacks with massive eyebrows entering free agency -- let's take a quick glance at where Baltimore is today (outside of actually being located in Maryland).
Contract talks between quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens are reportedly active, though no deal is imminent, writes the Baltimore Sun. Though Tom Brady's extension slightly lowered the number for franchising a quarterback, it's not significant enough to change negotiations.
"It doesn't matter," Flacco's agent Joe Linta told USA Today on Tuesday. "It doesn't matter. It's an extension for cap purposes. And we don't know all the details at this point. The bottom line is, whether Brady took a pay cut or took $27 million a year, it wouldn't have an impact on what we're doing. We've determined a number that we think is fair with respect for the Ravens' cap situation."
Yet the question you're asking yourself: Is Flacco worth the conjectured numbers being thrown, anywhere from $16-20 million per season. Flacco's 25 touchdowns in 2010 remains a career high, he's never surpassed a passer rating of 93.6 nor reached 4,000 yards passing in a single season and his completion percentage combined over the last two seasons is below 60 percent.
If you compare the quarterbacks over the past two years, Andy Dalton has generated a higher completion percentage, more touchdown passes with a similar passer rating. We get it. Super Bowl winner and MVP. That's the cost in all of this.
According to Jason La Canfora, neither side is expecting a completed deal before mid-March so offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie will enter free agency.
McKinnie's weight and dedication have been issues for him, as well as his practice habits, and he was AWOL more or less for the start of last summer camp before agreeing to a scaled-back contract. He was a spare part until injuries forced him back in the lineup, and he became one of the vital players in Baltimore's Super Bowl run.
Left tackle is a big question for the Ravens, though the draft is deep there, and it remains to be seen what the market for McKinnie will look like. If it's soft a return to Baltimore at a modest rate could be possible.
While Baltimore is locked in negotiations with Flacco, it's distracting the team from other players entering free agency, like linebacker Dannell Ellerbe or safety Ed Reed. Neither have spoken with the team and Reed isn't expected to return, though Ellerbe wants to return.
"I’m looking forward to making the best out of everything. The team that I play for, the money that I get, the situation I’m going into and all of that plays into it. I already have a Super Bowl. I want to be in Baltimore. My heart is in Baltimore, I love Baltimore, I love the fans, I love talking to y’all guys and I know I’m not going to talk to y’all somewhere else."