At the time, the contract became the richest extension in NFL history at $120.6 million dollars, placing Flacco atop the storylines and readying a bulls eye on his back for months to come from critics and detractors over how much he was really worth.
Because of that deal, you have to give Linta credit.
Both he and his client told everyone before the season, plain as day that Flacco would play like the top quarterback in the NFL and then get paid like the top quarterback in the NFL. Flacco’s play went above and beyond that as he became – at the time – the highest paid player the National Football League has ever seen.
Right or wrong. Fair or unfair. Just or unjust, it was the cold hard facts. Flacco had played his way to a huge extension and ensured faith and belief from the front office of the Baltimore Ravens.
It’s what good agents do when it comes time to deal with contract extensions. They hype their client up with the belief that they are the best thing going today, and that if you don’t believe that, some other team does and will pay what you weren’t willing to pay.
If Joe Linta didn’t believe Flacco would go out and be the best quarterback he could be and help the Ravens win a Super Bowl championship, then he wouldn’t be doing his job and he’d likely be finding work elsewhere. I would imagine this tactic is somewhere in “Sports Agents 101”, because if you don’t do this for your client, he’ll likely dump you quicker than a man with cold feet at the alter.
After the deal was completed, it was clear that Flacco was – and still is – without question, the Ravens’ franchise quarterback and both sides were satisfied with the deal. Life was good in Baltimore.
But the story that the Ravens turned down the idea of giving Flacco $1 million more before the start of last season during extension talks has lingered, and this week, Linta re-ignited the flames by bringing it up; a move that down the road could factor into talks with his client.
Linta told USA Today that the disagreement on $1 million in non-guaranteed base salary in the final year of the proposed six-year extension shelved talks until after the season, and only then did the Ravens have to pay dearly by waiting. Linta said the move the Ravens pulled cost them $35 million extra by waiting, saying he had absolutely “no sympathy. None.”
“I’ve never in my life seen a dumber move.” I guess people can say, ‘Well, Joe was dumb, too.’ It could have been [dumb], God forbid, if he got hurt. But $1 million to [Ravens owner] Steve Bisciotti six years from now? That’s like $100 bucks for you or me today.”
I understand he’s speaking his mind and doing his job as agent to Joe Flacco. But it doesn’t help Flacco whatsoever by Linta spewing his mouth about his feelings on the failed extension talks the first time around.
It brings a question to mind. Does his client, Joe Flacco, feel the same way Linta does?
Linta further fanned the flames by adding this gem,
“I’m not apologetic for the fact this is really a three-year deal, there’s no way they can afford $29 million a couple of years from now. I’m not apologetic. They chose to walk away.”
The Ravens will owe Flacco a lot of money, and in three years his cap number soars to nearly $29 million dollars. The contract essentially is a three-year deal and with Linta’s comments this week, that certainly will not be forgotten by Bisciotti, VP of football operations, Pat Moriarty (who by the way handled most of the Flacco talks) and Ozzie Newsome when it comes time to renegotiate the deal in 2016.
Linta’s comments have taken the phrase, “cutting off your nose to spite yourself” to a whole new level.
Joe Flacco in his laid back style, surely isn’t thrilled with Linta’s latest comments, especially going into an off-season with so many new faces after the mass exodus of players (some contributing the Flacco deal as the ultimate factor, which in my opinion isn’t true) as he’s only taking a $6.8 million dollar cap hit in 2013, but you likely won’t hear him addressing the media about what his agent said.
These comments are the kind you hope do not lead to the burning of the bridge when the team and Flacco will attempt to restructure the deal in ’16.
Flacco may never be the Drew Brees, or the Aaron Rodgers of the world but he’s a very good quarterback who is looking to stay in Baltimore for a long time. These comments may be Linta kicking the can up the road, but it might also be the factor leading to his dismissal if Flacco was smart.
Linta has never dealt with high-profile clients before other than Flacco and after somewhat embarrassing comments like this, he may never have that chance to have high-profile clients.
You gambled by telling the world Joe Flacco was the best thing going and he proved it. You got your client more money than most people ever imagined Joe Flacco would get.
Now, for the good of yourself, your client and the next contract you negotiate, its time to shut your mouth.
Matt Lund is a contributor for BaltimoreSportsReport.com and co-host of the BSR Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @MattCLund.