Joe Flacco Has a New Contract: Next Big Thing or Next Cautionary Tale?
2. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers (conspicuously absent from this list with a very cap-friendly $8.5 million figure for 2013) are generally the first names rattled off by football fans when the "E word" comes up. So it goes without saying that their teams are fine with their deals.
3. Also, I'm sure the Giants and Steelers are fine with Eli's and Ben's deals. A Super Bowl ring is practically diplomatic immunity when it comes to a player's contract being good or bad. Does anyone bring up what Eli makes when he's having one of his typical Eli "non-Super Bowl, way more average than you'd think" kind of seasons? Of course not. Because for every three average, turnover-laden seasons he puts up, he gets a Super Bowl ring. Any team would take that.
4. The Chargers, Cowboys and Texans will all say they're fine with their quarterbacks' deals, while their respective fan bases spend hours on end watching YouTube clips of every semi-mobile college quarterback online fantasizing about the next Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson. (Speaking of which, as an aside, I'd be remiss not to point out one of the biggest reasons so few highly paid quarterbacks were in the playoffs -- the rookie and sophomore classes, and their cap-friendly, wage scale-muted deals, represented six of the 12 playoff teams this season. That matters.)
5. The Raiders, Cardinals, and Jets all whiffed badly, albeit in entirely different ways. The Raiders desperately mortgaged the top of two drafts for Carson Palmer's aging carcass, the Cardinals where the next in along line of teams to pay big money to career backups, and the Jets inexplicably extended Mark Sanchez when nobody else in the free world thought they should.
6. The only reason Vick is showing up on this list is because he agreed to a one-year attempt at Chip Kelly reviving his career, otherwise he'd be a free agent right now, but needless to say, his Philly experience post-big contract extension has been a colossal failure.
So if we categorize the fifteen employers of the above names, they go like this:
UNCONDITIONALLY HAPPY (3): Broncos, Saints, Patriots
HAPPY MOST OF THE TIME (3): Giants, Steelers, Falcons
SAD CLOWN "laughing on the outside, crying on the inside" (6) : Lions, Chargers, Cowboys, Rams, Eagles, Texans
JUST PLAIN SAD (3): Raiders, Cardinals, Jets
If you're trying to find a tier where Flacco will reside for his Ravens career during this new deal, I'd go with the Eli/Big Ben/Matty Ice level. The playoff run was a drastic outlier statistically for Joe Cool, but the ring on his finger keeps him out of any of the other lesser acclaimed categories.
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