Ravens QB Joe Flacco now highest-paid NFL player ever
Super Bowl winner is guaranteed at least $52 million US
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco signed a new contract Monday worth $120.6 million US over six years, making him the highest paid player in NFL history.
The Super Bowl MVP will receive a $29 million signing bonus and $52 million in guaranteed money. He will be paid $51 million over the first two years of the deal.
"It's not really about the money, it's about that respect,' Flacco said minutes after signing.
The 28-year-old Flacco is the first starting quarterback in NFL history to make the playoffs in each of his first five seasons. He's led the Ravens to nine wins over that span, tying Tom Brady for most among quarterbacks in the first five years of a career.
Flacco threw 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions during the recent post-season and led the Ravens to a 34-31 Super Bowl win over San Francisco.
"He's a significant reason we've been to the playoffs five years in a row, played in three AFC championship games, and now, we are Super Bowl champs with Joe as MVP," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said.
Flacco's performance this past off-season almost certainly helped him receive his record-breaking contract, but Flacco said, "I think I'm an asset to this team. ... The fact that we won the Super Bowl just comes with that. If we didn't win the Super Bowl this year, I still think I'm worth the same."
By signing Monday, Flacco avoided receiving the franchise tag, which would have hindered the Ravens' salary cap in 2013.
"I know we have a lot of good players on the team, and I love to play with those guys, so hopefully it works out very good for the organization and we can keep as many people as we need," he said.
Flacco turned down a hefty contract before the 2012 season, and his decision turned out to be a wise one.
"It was never necessarily about the money and all that, but it was definitely about earning that respect and feeling like I was respected around here," he said. "The fact that we got it done and they have made me [the highest-paid player in NFL history] definitely makes me feel good about how I played and how they feel about me."