Contract Prediction: Joe Flacco

Contract Prediction: Joe Flacco
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Contract Forecast: Joe Flacco

With the recent long-term signing of running back Ray Rice, the next logical order of business should be to lock up their franchise quarterback Joe Flacco to an extension.

Flacco enters the final year of his rookie contract at 2012, set to count $8.86 million against the cap ($6.76 in base salary). The analysis of Joe Flacco is, for lack of a better term, awkward. Fantasy football owners know that a quarterback like Flacco is at times frustrating, as the stats never seem to match the gameplay or the wins. The bottom line though is that Flacco has won, and he's won all but the big game with this organization. Many may argue that an explosive running game and a veteran defense are stronger benefactors to the Raven's success, but it doesn't take long in any scenario to realize that a team without a certain type of quarterback goes nowhere on a consistent basis. We use terms like efficient, solid, and steady when characterizing a player like this, and quite frankly those are terms that may work against him in the negotiation of this deal. But while the numbers you'll see below aren't flashy, they are strong. And in comparing his seasons to other 2nd-tier quarterbacks he fits the bill for a leader, and a winner who deserves to be paid.

Spotrac breaks down the statistics, and compiles a prediction for the long-term extension soon to come.
Comparable Quarterbacks
To generate a prediction the Spotrac team determined that Philip Rivers, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, and Mark Sanchez were viable targets to use in comparing with Joe Flacco. They key was to locate starting quarterbacks with similar numbers, who signed their second big contract around the current age of Flacco (27). Here's a look at the contracts signed by each.
Player Length Value Avg. Salary Age When Signed
Philip Rivers 7 $98.25 million $14.035 million 27
Tony Romo 6 $67.4 million $11.233 million 27
Jay Cutler 5 $49.77 million $9.954 million 27
Mark Sanchez 5 $58.25 million $11.65 million 25
Averages 5.75 $68,175,000 $11,898,696 26.5
To determine a more likely starting point for our numbers, we'll perform a linear regression of the contract information listed above.

A linear regression is a formula that plots the provided points of data for Length and Value of the contracts, and then generates the best-fit line for those points, resulting in a "slope" value that translates to an average annual salary.
Length Value Avg. Salary (slope)
5.75 $69,521,760 $12,090,741
Statistical Analyzations
Now let's analyze these players statistically over their careers by showing the averages for Games/Season, Passing Yards/Season, Passing TD/Season, Passing INT/Season, and Completion %/Season.

Then, to assess how well the player was performing prior to signing their respective contract, we'll show the averages of these statistics two years prior to their signing date. This will give us a "Prime Percentage" for each player, providing us with a snapshot for how well that player was performing when the contract was signed in relation to his overall career.
Joe Flacco (BAL) Career/Year 2010-2011 Prime %
Passing Yards/Year3,454 3,616 104%
Passing TD/Year 20 22.5 112%
Passing INT/Year 11.5 11 105%
Comp. %/Year 60.8 60.1 99%
Games Per Year151493%
Philip Rivers (SD) Career/Year 2007-2008 Prime %
Passing Yards/Year 3,035 4,667 153%
Passing TD/Year 20.3 28.5 140%
Passing INT/Year 9.75 16.5 30%
Comp. %/Year 63.6 64.45 101%
Games Per Year 12.5 16 128%
Tony Romo (DAL) Career/Year 2006-2007 Prime %
Passing Yards/Year 3,472 3,557 102%
Passing TD/Year 24.3 27 111%
Passing INT/Year 12 16 67%
Comp. %/Year 64.5 64.85 100%
Games Per Year 12.8 13 101%
Jay Cutler (CHI) Career/Year 2008-2009 Prime %
Passing Yards/Year 3,047.2 4,069 133%
Passing TD/Year 19.5 26 133%
Passing INT/Year 14.3 22 47%
Comp. %/Year 61.1 61.4 100%
Games Per Year 13 16 123%
Mark Sanchez (NYJ) Career/Year 2010-2011 Prime %
Passing Yards/Year 3,069.7 3,382.5 110%
Passing TD/Year 18.3 21.5 117%
Passing INT/Year 17 15.5 109%
Comp. %/Year 55.3 55.75 100%
Games Per Year 15.7 16 100%
Our results here show that for the most part these Quarterbacks showed slight increases in performance prior to signing their contracts. Flacco's 102.6% doesn't fire off an sparks in terms of negiotating terms. Instead it proves what many tend to classify Flacco as: solid. Comparing the statistics specifically we see that while his TD/INT ratio is slightly better than most of these quarterbacks, his completion percentage doesn't follow suit. It's hard to classify him in elite terms with numbers like these that tend to hold him back. We'll carry the 2.6% in prime performance through to our results.
Length of the Contract
At age 27 and a franchise in Baltimore that loves to stay true to its core, the length provided to us by averaging our variable player's contracts, 5.75, rounded up to 6 years seems right in line with our goal.

Value of the Contract
As previously noted, Flacco has been steady and solid - but not shocking. That being said, he's been the offensive leader on winnings teams, and at times has shown the ability to take over games, and does seem capable of bringing a title to the city of Baltimore during this new contract. We'll factor the full 2.6% prime performance into our previously determined linear regression contract to provide a maximum value.
Spotrac's Prediction: 6 years, $73,995,333