Late For Work 2/16: Agent: Wins Make Flacco A Top-5 QB

Kiper changes 1st-round pick for Ravens and Mayock’s pre-combine top-5 receivers.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Thursday, February 16th, 2012 at 9:12 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Agent: Wins Make Flacco A Top-5 QB

When Joe Linta, the agent for quarterback Joe Flacco, meets with the Ravens next week at the combine, the two sides aren’t expected to exchange salary figures.

When that time does come, Linta may have provided some insight on what he thinks can be a good starting point – with the league’s elite.

“If the game is about wins and losses, he has to be in the top five [quarterbacks],” Linta told The Baltimore Sun. “He is a player who has been extremely durable, never missed a game. And he’s done something that no one has ever done. In his four years in the league, he has never missed a game and has more wins (44) than any other quarterback.”

Ravens brass agrees with Linta – Flacco is durable and he is a winner. General Manager Ozzie Newsome said as much in the season-ending press conference earlier this month.

“The thing that I like about Joe – and I think in the end, when you’re in this business – you are judged on one thing: winning,” said Newsome. “Joe wins. If he continues to win, if one pass is caught, he’d be in a Super Bowl. And I think he’s going to win Super Bowls – a lot of them. And I hope to be a part of them. He has improved. But the thing that you cannot knock about Joe is that he’s a winner.”

Naturally, the questions begging to be answered become: do the Ravens agree that Flacco is a top-5 quarterback, and if so, does that mean he should be paid like one?

One can debate ad nauseam who cracks the top 5, and in what order they should be placed, but the following quarterbacks would surely be in the conversation:

Tom Brady, New England Patriots (5 years/$78.5 million/$48.5 million guaranteed)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts (5 years/$78.5 million/$48.5 million guaranteed)
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (5 years/$90 million/$20 million guaranteed
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (6 years/$65 million/$20 million guaranteed)               
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (7 years/$98.2 million/$38.5 million guaranteed)              
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (7 years/$98.2 million/$38.5 million guaranteed)
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles (5 years/ $80 million/ $32.5 million guaranteed)
Eli Manning, New York Giants (7 years/$106. million/$35 million guaranteed)

As discussed in yesterday’s Late For Work, several pundits believe Flacco should command a contract that tops the second tier of quarterbacks (Kevin Kolb, Ryan Fitzpatrick), but shouldn’t reach the top-tier ones.

Either way, it doesn’t seem likely that level of detail will be discussed when Linta and Ravens salary cap guru Pat Moriarty “chat” next week.

“We’ve got a feeling that it will be many Saturdays before an extension is announced, especially if Flacco wants to be paid among the top five quarterbacks in the game,” wrote PFT.com’s Mike Florio. ”We like him and we believe he’s underrated and overcriticized, but to put him with guys like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger seems to be a little premature and/or presumptuous.”

Kiper Changes 1st-Round Pick For Ravens

Last month, ESPN’s Mel Kiper thought it was a good idea for the Ravens to draft Ray Lewis’ eventual replacement. Take Arizona State inside linebacker Vontaze Burfict, he said.

“He’s been drawing comparisons to Ray Lewis since he got to Tempe, and hopefully Lewis will be around for another year to mentor Burfict,” Kiper wrote in January. “But either way, the Ravens have to consider what they’ll do, as retirement talk now is a reality for their legendary linebacker, and Burfict is the kind of player who could develop into a star in his own right in that defense.”

Perhaps it’s because Kiper now thinks Baltimore has greater needs, or maybe it’s because the stock on Burfict is slightly down (Mike Mayock downplayed Burfict yesterday … more on that from Ryan Mink later today), but either way, Kiper now says the Ravens should use their 29th pick on Wisconsin center Peter Konz.

“With Ray Lewis’ decision to come back for another year, the Ravens might be a little less desperate to find the next great linebacker, and can instead hit another big need,” Kiper explained. “Matt Birk will need a replacement at center, and Konz is the best one in the draft.

“He’s like a good quarterback, picking up every blitz and stunt, and has the kind of smarts in calling out things that will really help the quarterback. The Ravens were a mess up front for portions of 2011 and will need to add help there.”

Mayock’s Pre-Combine Top 5 Receivers

Of Mike Mayock’s top-5 receiver prospects below, the draft guru said two would likely be of interest to the Ravens in the first round: Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd or LSU’s Reuben Randle.

Top 5

1. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
2. Kendall Wright, Baylor
3. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
4. Rueben Randle, LSU
5. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina

After receiving a citation for drunken driving in March of last year, Floyd was suspended indefinitely from the football team, but the suspension was lifted the following August. He didn’t miss any games in his senior campaign, as a result, and finished with 100 receptions for 1,147 yards and nine touchdowns.

Randle was the Tigers’ leading receiver in their 2011 undefeated season, which was capped off by a loss in the BCS National Championship game. The 6-foot-4, 208-pound junior finished the year with 53 receptions, 917 yards, and eight touchdowns. His 17.3 average yards per-reception led the SEC among receivers with at least 50 catches.

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