Prodigal – a person who spends, or has spent, his or her money or substance with wasteful extravagance.
Prodigal can sum up the actions of the Baltimore Ravens in offering Joe Flacco a contract that will make him the highest quarterback in NFL history.
According to ESPN, Flacco and the Ravens agreed to a six-year, $120.6 million contract and Flacco is expected to sign the deal on Monday in Baltimore.
If you have read my previous columns on contract terms, you know how I feel about this situation.
Once again, we have an athlete being overcompensated for his performance. Yet, in this case, the Ravens had no choice, but Flacco did.
The Ravens HAD to re-sign Flacco, but Flacco didn’t have to. Flacco could have pulled a Drew Brees and lock a stranglehold on the Ravens until his demands were met. But both sides can agree to this.
Flacco wanted to be with the Ravens for a substantial amount of money and the Ravens wanted Flacco at whatever cost it took; even if it meant offering him max amount.
Do I agree with the signing? Yes.
Do I agree with the terms? Read the first sentence of this column.
Flacco deserved to be paid well for all he has done. After all, he has made the playoffs since arriving to the NFL. He is the most consistent quarterback the past five seasons and he finally added Super Bowl MVP to that resume last month.
He has also dealt with being the most undervalued quarterback in the NFL. Even with this signing, many are still berating Flacco as overrated and many are suggesting Flacco won’t live up to his contract.
You’re right, he won’t, because he shouldn’t be the richest quarterback in NFL history. The man who should be the richest quarterback took a pay cut earlier this week.
Flacco will, however, live up to most of that contract because he is now the face of the Ravens franchise with the exit of Ray Lewis. Flacco’s flawless playoff performance should be an indication of what to expect to all the Flacco cynics. When you are able to outperform Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in two consecutive weeks, you don’t need to validate anything to anyone.
The only flaw is the Raven’s pursuit of Flacco this offseason was nothing short of prodigal. Yes, he deserves to be paid justly, but to make him the richest quarterback in the NFL not only brings with it puzzlement, but expectation and risk.
Now, the expectations for the Ravens are to be Super Bowl contenders every year. If you have the richest quarterback on your team, there is no reason why the Ravens shouldn’t be. I mean, it is the reason why they re-signed him right? Anything less of that expectation will result in banter of failure.
The risk with Flacco being paid so much? The risk of Flacco’s performance becoming more undervalued than it already is. If critics and sports analysts everywhere still downgraded Flacco in the season he won the Super Bowl, what is to say they won’t this year?
Picture this: Flacco throws 3 touchdowns for 300 yards and the Ravens win against the Patriots. Next day, the comparison is made whether or not Flacco is better than Tom Brady and the majority will say no. I’ll admit it, I would say no as well, but guess what?
This actually happened.
In Week 3, Flacco outperformed Brady and he still did not get the respect he deserved. Offering him a max contract does not end the talk of whether or not he is elite because critics will continuously bash him until he wins 2 more Super Bowls to match Tom Brady.
Only then will the talk cease.
For now, the contract is nothing less of prodigal. Overcompensation hasn’t worked in the past with athletes and it won’t work with Flacco. He may win another Super Bowl, but it won’t validate the title he now holds. So congratulations, Flacco, “The Highest Paid Quarterback in NFL History” (who only has 1 Super Bowl title).