Breaking Down The Joe Flacco Contract As It Relates To Yearly Salary Cap Charges

The Baltimore Ravens signed quarterback Joe Flacco to a six year, $120.6 million contract on Monday and a few people have asked me how that will affect their salary cap situation moving forward.

First of all, let\’s look at the reported numbers. Albert Breer of the NFL Network reported that Flacco received a $29 million signing bonus to start with. That signing bonus can only be prorated for five years, so that equals an initial proration cap charge of $5.8 million in each of the first five years of the deal. You can see this accounted for in the first of the three tables below.

Flacco also reportedly has $1 million base salary in 2013 which is followed up by base salaries of $6 million, $4 million, $18.2 million, $20.6 million and $20 million in the remaining five years of the contract.

The Ravens reportedly gave Flacco two option bonuses in the second and third years of his contract of $15 million and $7 million respectively. These option bonuses are guaranteed for injury only.

The first table shows the initial schedule of the contract along with the cap charges in each of the six years.

In 2014 the Ravens will turn that $15 million option bonus into a signing bonus and that then will be prorated over the five remaining years of the deal. The second table reflects these additions to the proration schedule. In other words, Flacco\’s scheduled 2014 cap charge of $26.8 million will be reduced by $12 million by simply turning the option bonus into a signing bonus next offseason.

In 2015 the Ravens will then turn the $7 million option bonus due Flacco into another signing bonus and prorate it over the course of the remaining four years of the contract. The last table reflects the changes in the proration column. Doing that will lower Flacco\’s 2015 cap hit from $19.8 down to $14.55 million.

Heading into 2016 Flacco will then have a cap charge that season of $28.55 million thanks to all of the option bonuses being turned into signing bonuses the two years prior. Believe or not, the Ravens could release Flacco at that time and actually save $2.7 million based on what he is scheduled to count against the cap. He would really have to be playing awful at that time for that to happen, but that is their out year as crazy as it sounds. His dead money would be huge, but savings are savings, especially in cold hard cash.

Depending on what the salary cap is in 2016, a year after the new television revenue is supposed to help increase the number, the Ravens might be forced to restructure Flacco\’s contract and turn a good portion of his $18 million into a signing bonus to clear some cap room. That is speculating way out now, but they will have that option to do so. In 2017, assuming Flacco is still healthy and playing well, will most likely when the two sides could possibly start talking about an extension. His scheduled cap hit in 2017 would be an eye popping $31.15 million and would be even higher should they have had to restructure his contract the season before.

Flacco would be 32 years of age in 2017.

I hope that clarifies everything for you. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger could possibly have his contract extended next offseason, so this will give you a reference point to look at moving forward.

2013 ORIGINAL CONTRACT SCHEDULE
*BASE SALARYOPTION BONUSBONUS PRORATIONCAP CHARGE
2013 $1,000,000 $- $5,800,000 $6,800,000
2014 $6,000,000 $15,000,000 $5,800,000 $26,800,000
2015 $4,000,000 $7,000,000 $5,800,000 $16,800,000
2016 $18,000,000 $- $5,800,000 $23,800,000
2017 $20,600,000 $- $5,800,000 $26,400,000
2018 $20,000,000 $- $- $20,000,000
TOTAL $69,600,000 $22,000,000 $29,000,000 $120,600,000
2014 AFTER OPTION BONUS TURNED INTO SIGNING BONUS
*BASE SALARYOPTION BONUSBONUS PRORATIONCAP CHARGE
2013 $1,000,000 $- $5,800,000 $6,800,000
2014 $6,000,000 $- $8,800,000 $14,800,000
2015 $4,000,000 $7,000,000 $8,800,000 $19,800,000
2016 $18,000,000 $- $8,800,000 $26,800,000
2017 $20,600,000 $- $8,800,000 $29,400,000
2018 $20,000,000 $- $3,000,000 $23,000,000
TOTAL $69,600,000 $7,000,000 $44,000,000 $120,600,000
2015 AFTER SECOND OPTION BONUS TURNED INTO SIGNING BONUS
*BASE SALARYOPTION BONUSBONUS PRORATIONCAP CHARGE
2013 $1,000,000 $- $5,800,000 $6,800,000
2014 $6,000,000 $- $8,800,000 $14,800,000
2015 $4,000,000 $- $10,550,000 $14,550,000
2016 $18,000,000 $- $10,550,000 $28,550,000
2017 $20,600,000 $- $10,550,000 $31,150,000
2018 $20,000,000 $- $4,750,000 $24,750,000
TOTAL $69,600,000 $- $51,000,000 $120,600,000