After leading the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl XLVII win, performing nearly flawlessly in the postseason and winning the Super Bowl MVP, pretty much everyone expected Joe Flacco would receive a massive new contract from the Ravens. However, most of those folks probably didn’t think it would be this big.
Although nothing is official yet, the Ravens and Flacco have agreed to a six-year contract worth $120.6 million, which will make him the highest paid player in NFL history. Drew Brees is the league’s current highest paid player, making $20 million per season.
According to ESPN.com, league sources say it’s all but a done deal. There’s just some language and a few details that need to be sorted out. Flacco is expected to sign the contract on Monday.
By reaching an agreement before Monday’s deadline and avoiding any penalties, the Ravens have saved themselves nearly $20 million in space, which is money that will go to good use in re-signing Ed Reed, Paul Kruger and Bryant McKinnie.
Even after winning last year’s Super Bowl title, the Ravens rank behind six teams in NFL futures odds at Bovada.lv, including the Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and the preseason favorites – the San Francisco 49ers, who are getting 7/1 odds.
The Ravens are getting 16/1 odds to repeat as champions, which may seem unfair to some, but it really is fairly accurate. The Ravens were certainly the best team – some would say hottest team, and that’s not taking anything away from their performance – during the playoffs, but talent wise, it’s hard to say they are the best squad, even in the AFC.
Flacco certainly emerged as an elite NFL QB and we can understand why the Ravens wanted to (and really had to) lock him up long term. However, there’s no question that the defense is still a bit of a concern, more so than with a team like the Broncos or even the Seahawks.
Also, the Ravens aren’t exactly the most youthful group coming into next season. Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed are still great players, but they aren’t getting any younger and other teams appear to be on the upswing, while it’s hard to imagine the Ravens recapturing the magic they discovered last season.
Still, the Ravens aren’t a horrible wager at 16/1. They are returning almost everyone – except for Ray Lewis of course – and if they stay healthy 16/1 gives bettors some good value with a team that’s already proven they can win. It wouldn’t hurt to throw a small bet the Ravens way, but some of the more attractive picks at the moment appear to be the 49ers, the Seahawks and the Broncos.