Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun writes that the Ravens are ”debating between” applying the exclusive-rights franchise tag or non-exclusive tag to QB Joe Flacco this offseason.
There’s a difference of almost $6 million between the two designations and the exclusive tag assures Baltimore that Flacco will be back next season. If they were to apply the non-exclusive tag to him in the coming weeks, it would cost them $14.6 million next season and would require an NFL team to part with two first-round picks to sign Flacco away.
The Ravens would obviously be taking a calculated risk by applying the non-exclusive tag, but they would still have the opportunity to match any offer. All things being equal, there’s a better chance that Flacco would return to Baltimore than leave for a new team.
A number of people believe it would be a mistake to not use the exclusive-rights tag on Flacco, as there most likely would be interest from other teams, but the Ravens could roll the dice in the hopes of saving $6 million this season and if some team does try to sign Flacco away, they could just match the offer.
The problem with this scenario is not only do they run the risk of losing Flacco, but they would be allowing the market to dictate Flacco’s next contract, which could push asking price up in the process.
We have Flacco listed as the No. 1 best available player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.
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