Joe Flacco has outplayed Tom Brady in the last two AFC Championship Games, the second of which Baltimore won en route to capturing its first Super Bowl title with Flacco under center. By not only winning a Super Bowl but beating Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in the process established Flacco among the media-ordained super elite, at least until he starts playing like baseline Joe Flacco again next season.
Nevertheless, it’s time for Flacco to cash in. Just as the Ravens and their quarterback are negotiating a new contract, Tom Brady went and signed a three-year contract extension that lowered his annual salary in exchange for more guaranteed money. The extension frees up critical salary cap room in the short term for the Patriots. This caused reporters to gush about how unselfish Brady is. Altruistic dreamboat!
But even when Brady is seemingly being kind, he’s trolling somebody. The trollee in this case is Joe Flacco. Brady’s new cap figure drops him out of the top five highest paid quarterbacks in the game, which in turn lowers the average of the top five quarterback salaries by nearly $1 million. It is that average that Joe Flacco would be paid if he and the Ravens are unable to agree to a long-term contract and the team has to use the exclusive franchise tag on him.
Perhaps the difference between $20.5 million and $19.5 million isn’t that big of deal. Both figures are more money than you or I will ever see. What’s more, the Ravens could still give Joe Flacco the huge multi-year contract he was going to get all along, independent of what happened with Brady’s deal.
Still, even if Flacco cashes in to the highest extent possible, the media will just react by continuing to hail Tom Brady for putting the team first, just as Joe Flacco finally gets his big payday. That’s expert trolling.