Flacco didn’t think about contract while putting together strong season

NEW ORLEANS - Joe Flacco’s pending free agency could’ve felt like a gamble after he tabled negotiations and decided to go ahead with his season without the security of a long-term deal.

He could’ve been injured. He could’ve been ineffective. A number of things could’ve happened.

But instead, he gambled and won, taking the Ravens to the Super Bowl following one of his best regular seasons - 3,817 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Flacco said he wasn’t worried about his contract once the season began.

“It’s real simple. We didn’t agree on a number and I didn’t really care to discuss it any further once it got to that point,” he said Thursday. “Bottom line is I’m not the guy going up into their offices and negotiating with them every day anyway. It was really never a concern of mine and never really thought about it. Even in the offseason, when you think about it a little bit, they are really all good thoughts. It’s a good problem to have and to be talking about.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh saw no signs that the negotiations or lack of an extension weighed on Flacco.

Harbaugh said it wasn’t a challenge for Flacco to set aside his contract and just play.

“It’s been amazingly non-challenging, and I think that’s a credit to Joe first of all. Joe doesn’t worry about that stuff. It’s not something that matters to him,” Harbaugh said. “He’s not a guy that’s all wrapped up in that. I think he feels that it’s going to work out, you do all you’re talking on the field. It’s about football. He figured that he’ll go out there and take care of business this year, lead the team, play as well as he could play and see what happens.

“That’s kind of his approach to things. It’s also a credit to this organization. Steve (Bisciotti) and Ozzie (Newsome) didn’t get worked up about it either. You’d love to have your quarterback signed up. There were some great negotiations, some very generous offers back and forth and those kind of things. But when it got to that point in time where everybody kind of said, ‘You know what, it’s about football right now. Let’s have the best season we can have. We’ll revisit after the season.’ That, as a coach, I felt pretty good about it. We really haven’t talked about it since.”

Newsome has said multiple times that Flacco will be in a Ravens uniform next year no matter what.

With quarterback salaries as high as they are, Flacco could be in for a big payday.

New Orleans’ Drew Brees has the highest average salary over the course of his contract at $20 million. Then there’s Denver’s Peyton Manning ($18 million), Philadelphia’s Michael Vick ($16 million) and New England’s Tom Brady ($15.7 million).

Interesting to note: Flacco, who made $6.76 million this year, beat two of those four during the Ravens’ playoff run.

“All that is a lot of money,” safety Bernard Pollard said. “Everybody wants to get the best. The money is great and one thing for us as football players, this thing has been great to us. It honestly has. It’s been great. You just want what you’re worth. You really do.

“I hope he cashes in. For us as players, we want everybody to get the best of what’s out there and we all hope he’ll get the money.”