|Flacco is looking for a contract extension and how he plays this postseason could determine if he gets it. (AP)|
By Ryan Wilson
Running back Ray Rice is in the last few weeks of his rookie contract and it's no secret that he's looking for a new deal. And given his importance to the Ravens' offense, he deserves it. We're guessing the two sides will come to an agreement in this offseason, although the Titans' Chris Johnson has completely obliterated the market for do-everything feature backs.
But Rice isn't the only player in Baltimore looking to re-up. Backfield and draft-class teammate Joe Flacco will have a year left on his contract after the 2011 season, but like most franchise quarterbacks, he'd like an extension in place before he becomes a free agent.
In fact, last April, back when he still had two years on his rookie deal, here's what Flacco said (via the Baltimore Sun):
"I think I've established myself. If you're not confident with who I am, I'm not sure what [difference] a year is going to make."
If the sentiments sound familiar it's because every few months Flacco laments his plight as a franchise player who isn't afforded the same respect by media and fans as others in his position. (We're not exaggerating. Flacco has a knack for saying the wrong thing at the worst possible moment. See here and here for recent examples.)
Two weeks ago, Flacco again spoke with the Sun about his comments last spring and his future in Baltimore.
The Houston Texans will square off against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. Which team will advance to the Conference Championship? NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz preview this game. Watch the game at 1 PM ET on CBS.
"It is what it is," he said. "It's either going to happen at some point or it's not. The bottom line is I'm not too worried about it either way. Do I feel like I deserve one? Yeah. Do I feel like I'm going to get one? Yeah. If I don't get one, is it going to be a huge deal? No, it is what it is. It's not really up to me. It's up to me to go out there and focus on my play each and every game and put our team in the best spot to win a football game."
We can't imagine that the Ravens won't keep Flacco, though that calculus may depend on how he plays in the postseason. If he has a horrible showing, the team opts to hold off on contract talks, and he plays in 2012 like he did in 2011 -- which is to say: inconsistently -- maybe the front office might choose to move forward without him in 2013. That scenario seems like a stretch, especially when you remember the names that preceded him in Baltimore: Boller, Blake, Grbac, Dilfer, and Banks for starters.
Flacco likes to remind his critics that the Ravens have gone to the playoffs in each of his four seasons, and have put together back-to-back 12-4 campaigns. That's nice, but the bottom line is winning a Super Bowl. Baltimore hasn't come close and part of that lies with Flacco. If he plays well during the playoffs, he'll be in line for a raise; if he plays like he did against the Titans, Jaguars, Seahawks or Chargers, the club could choose to reevaluate things after he plays out the final year of his rookie deal.
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