A day after being named Super Bowl XLVII's MVP, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said Monday that he is "optimistic" about returning to the team next season as he prepares to enter free agency.
Flacco's rookie contract expired after the season, making him a free agent. If the Ravens and Flacco cannot agree on a long-term, the team would almost certainly think about using its franchise tag on him.
"I'm pretty optimistic, but who knows?" Flacco said of agreeing on a deal, according to The Baltimore Sun. "There's all kinds of crazy things that can happen with these contracts that we've all seen before, but this is a great organization. I love being [in Baltimore], great city, so I don't really anticipate any problems."
Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, told the Sun that it's "hard to argue Joe's not the best guy out there now." Flacco dominated in the postseason en route to leading the Ravens to a 34-31 Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers. In the playoffs, he threw 11 touchdowns and no interceptions while completing about 58 percent of his passes.
Flacco is reportedly looking for a long-term contract that would pay him more than Peyton Manning that would rival Drew Brees' contract that pays him $20 million per season. The Ravens could theoretically designate him their non-exclusive franchise player at a projected cost of $14.6 million or use their exclusive franchise tag figure for nearly $20 million next season, according to the Sun. The 28-year-old Flacco had an 87.7 quarterback rating this season, throwing 22 touchdowns to only 10 interceptions. Though he had a stellar postseason, none of his regular-season stats — touchdowns, yards, quarterback rating or completion percentage — put him among the top 10 NFL quarterbacks in those respective categories.