Originally posted on NFL News & Rumors  |  Last updated 9/21/12

With his fifth NFL season underway, Joe Flacco is on the cusp of receiving a well earned pay increase, having started all 48 regular season games for the Ravens over the past four years, and putting up significant numbers in the process.

Baltimore has been unsuccessful thus far in their attempts to lock up Flacco long term and the possibility exists that the former Delaware standout could bolt for another team via free agency. That said, a scenario in which that occurred would only take place if the Ravens are unable to sign him to a new deal and they elect to not use their franchise tag on Flacco, both of which are highly unlikely at this point.

In any case, Flacco still provides an interesting potential free agent to look at, in that he’s been able to compile significant statistics as the Ravens starter while proving himself to be adept at leading his team to playoff victories as well, with five post-season wins and two appearances in the AFC championship game under his belt.

Flacco was close to agreeing to a new contract with the Ravens prior to the start of the season, but for reasons unknown, the two sides broke off talks and have not re-engaged in discussion on his future with the team as of yet. For his part, Flacco seems content to simply play out the remainder of his contract this season and then go to work on a new deal afterwards, putting everything on the line in an attempt to earn a larger payday with a superb performance this year.

Just 27 years old, Flacco is only now entering the prime years of his career, and given the way he’s played through the early stages, there’s little doubt that he’ll continue to provide Baltimore with outstanding statistical seasons in the years to come. Thus far, Flacco has 1,233 completions for 14,347 yards, 83 touchdowns, and 47 interceptions to his name, to go along with a 50-25 (66% winning percentage) record as the starter for the Ravens.

Flacco’s post-season record has put him in a class all by himself, as he’s the only quarterback in NFL history to win two playoff games in his rookie season and the first to win a playoff game in each of his first four seasons in the NFL. He also has the most playoff starts in his first two seasons of any quarterback that’s ever played in the NFL.

Those kind of stats will undoubtedly earn Flacco a huge extension from the Ravens sooner rather than later, however the one missing piece is a Super Bowl appearance, and that is almost certainly priority number one for Flacco this year. If he can lead his team to the promised land, he will not only have endeared himself to thousands of loyal Ravens fans around the country, but he’ll also take his rightful place among the current quarterback elite in the NFL, standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Manning (Peyton and Eli), Brady, and Brees.

It won’t be easy and there’s sure to be plenty of bumps along the way, but there is no doubt that by the end of this season, Flacco will have earned himself a new contract and more than likely will have cemented himself as the starter in Baltimore for many years to come.

©2012 NFL News & Rumors. All Rights Reserved.

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PLAYERS: Joe Flacco
TEAMS: Baltimore Ravens
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