Joe Flacco entered his fifth season as the Quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens. It was also the final season of his Rookie Contract. He and his agent decided to not work out a contract extension before the season started, a really risky move.
It was a risky move because it meant that his future contract totally depended on how this season played out for him, and the Ravens. If he had flopped, the Ravens would have been the ones with all the leverage at the negotiating table. Flacco ended up throwing for 3,817 yards and put up a 2.2 TD/INT ratio, with a 87.7 Quarterback Rating. In otherwise a roughly average season for him.
Where Flacco ended up proving his worth to the Ravens was in the Playoffs. In the three games prior to the Super Bowl, Flacco had managed an astounding 117.7 Quarterback Rating. He tossed for 1,140 yards, 11 TDs, and NO INTs. Think about that, he had a sterling 11 TD/INT ratio. Then, you add in his performance in the Super Bowl and his performance only becomes more impressive.
That being said, Flacco’s abnormal decision not to get an extension before the season. He had definitely played well enough over the preceding four years to earn a pretty good bump in his Rookie Contract; which paid him $6.7 million for the 2012 season. Flacco clearly felt that he was going to be able to get more money after this season than if he had excepted the contract extension; after all he calls himself an elite quarterback.
His status as an elite quarterback is obviously debatable. The massive contract that he has earned, is not.