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Ravens to start Contract Talks with Flacco

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(Credits: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Baltimore Ravens will begin talks with Joe Flacco’s agent on a long-term contract extension at the NFL combine next week, according to Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network.

This news shouldn’t come as a shock because Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti anticipated over a year ago that talks would begin this off-season. But this could be the beginning of a very long, strenuous process for both parties when it comes to determining Flacco’s value.

Flacco, 27, is entering the final-year of his rookie contract he signed after being selected as the Ravens’ top draft choice in 2008.

His new contract should rival what many second-tier quarterbacks have gotten in recent years. Last season, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb was inked to a six-year, $65 million deal with $21.5 million guaranteed and the Buffalo Bills’ Ryan Fitzpatrick signed for six-years, $59 million with $24 million guaranteed.

At this point, to think Flacco should receive the kind of money top-tier quarterbacks like the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger (eight years, $102 million) and the Giants’ Eli Manning (seven years, $106.9 million) is a bit over the top.

Both Roethlisberger and Manning have won two Super Bowls, and there’s a still a lot of distance between Flacco and the league’s elite quarterbacks. If I had to make a guess, I’d say Flacco gets anywhere from $25 to $35 million in guaranteed money.

Here’s what makes Flacco such an interesting case:

While Flacco’s statistics aren’t overwhelming, all No. 5 does is win.

Over the past three seasons, you could pencil in Flacco for 3,600 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. However, Flacco has had trouble maintaining consistency from game-to-game, and in seven regular season games in 2011, he failed to throw for over 200 yards seven times.

When it comes to winning though, Flacco has done just that, compiling a 44-20 regular season record in his first four seasons. His 44 regular-season victories are the most by any quarterback in his first four seasons in NFL history. Also, Flacco became the only quarterback in NFL history to take his team to the postseason in each of his first four seasons.

The Ravens and Flacco’s camp will come to an agreement at some point. Flacco’s statistics won’t blow anyone away at the negotiating table — but on the flip side — because Flacco has hasn’t missed a single game in his career and has been able to lead the Ravens deep into the playoffs, it may take some time for both sides to come to a final agreement.