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Flacco's expiring contract not an issue

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Flacco's expiring contract not an issue

NEW ORLEANS (AP) When Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome walks through the locker room past Joe Flacco, other players start up a chant: ``Pay the man, pay the man.''

No worries: Flacco will be getting paid.

The question is, by which team?

Yet Flacco's expiring contract doesn't seem to concern anyone with the Ravens, including the quarterback himself.

Flacco practically shrugged Thursday when asked about potentially being a free agent after the Ravens play the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.

``It's real simple,'' said Flacco, who made $6.76 million this year in the final season of his rookie contract. ``We didn't agree on a number and I didn't really care to discuss it any further once it got to that point. Bottom line is I'm not the guy going up into their offices and negotiating with them every day anyways. It was really never a concern of mine and I 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.''

The guy talking about it with Ravens management is agent Joe Linta. He and Newsome recently had brief discussions about a new deal, but nothing was done.

``The onus is on them to make a move after this week,'' said Linta, who recognizes that the Ravens could slap the franchise tag on Flacco for 2013 at a cost of about $14.6 million. ``I would guess they want to keep him. He's 28, in the prime of his football life, has never missed a game. His resume on the table is outstanding and his future is even brighter.''

If that resume includes a Super Bowl win, Flacco might cost the Ravens in the $20 million per year range that Tom Brady and the Mannings are at. Flacco, a first-round draft pick in 2008 out of Delaware, already is the only quarterback to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons. He passed Eli Manning for most road victories in the postseason when Baltimore won the AFC championship at New England.

Coach John Harbaugh says the uncertain contract status for the only quarterback to win six road playoff games ``has been amazingly unchallenging.''

``I think that's a credit to Joe first of all. Joe doesn't worry about that stuff,'' Harbaugh said. ``It's not something that matters to him. 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 your 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.''

What has happened thus far is a rarity: a Super Bowl quarterback possibly (although unlikely) on the open market.

One guy who won't be around if Flacco returns next season is star linebacker Ray Lewis, who will retire after the Super Bowl. But Lewis echoes his teammates' belief that Flacco isn't going anywhere.

``Joe is going to be the quarterback in Baltimore for a long, long time,'' Lewis said. ``He's proven it, he's earned it. I think he has the ability to be not just a great talent, but an awesome leader, too.

``Ozzie will do the right thing.''

And if Newsome needs any reminding, hearing those chants in the locker room will do the job.

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In a draft deep at CB, taking one early could be Ravens' best move

In a draft deep at CB, taking one early could be Ravens' best move

The Ravens may need to rethink their draft strategy regarding cornerbacks. They haven’t drafted a cornerback in the first three rounds since 2011, when they took Jimmy Smith with the 27th overall pick.

Smith is still the Ravens’ best corner. However, he has been plagued by injuries in recent years, and lack of cornerback depth has become a glaring weakness for the Ravens, in a league that features many explosive wide receivers.

Related: NFL Mock Draft 1.0

According to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., this year’s draft is loaded with talented corners. With the 16th overall pick, the Ravens can address their need at cornerback with someone who might be talented enough to start as a rookie.

“There’s a lot of corners in this draft that are going to go in the first round,” Kiper said during a recent conference call.

Many believe Marshon Lattimore of Ohio St. will be the first cornerback off the board, and will likely be gone before the Ravens can grab him. In his first mock draft, Kiper had Lattimore going No. 6 to the Jets.

However, the list of top-rated corners that could be available for the Ravens at No. 16 includes Marlon Humphrey of Alabama, Sidney Jones of Washington, Jourdan Lewis of Michigan, Teez Tabor of Florida, Cordrea Tankersley of Clemson, and Quincy Wilson of Florida.

The Ravens grabbed a promising corner in the fourth round last year in Tavon Young, who had a strong rookie season. But the Ravens may not have the luxury of waiting to take a cornerback this spring. Instead of taking the best player available at No. 16, the Ravens will have to consider taking the best corner available.

Related: Depth at running back reduces need for Ravens to trade up in draft

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Depth at running back in draft reduces need for Ravens to trade up

Depth at running back in draft reduces need for Ravens to trade up

Should the Ravens trade up from No. 16 to get an impact running back in the draft?  Not according to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper.

The Ravens’ need for more playmakers is obvious, and coach John Harbaugh says the offense could use another back to complement Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West.

In his first mock draft, Kiper had Leonard Fournette of LSU (No. 8, Panthers) and Dalvin Cook of Florida St. (No. 12, Browns) as the first two backs off the board, with the Ravens taking Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers with the 16th pick.

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Kiper says the Ravens can get a quality back in the first three rounds, with this year’s draft deep at the position.

“I don’t know that trading up for a running back the grade of Fournette will be high enough to say he’s in that (Ezekiel) Elliott stratosphere,” Kiper said during a recent conference call.

“You have a lot of depth at running back too, with (Christian) McCaffrey, D’Onta Foreman from Texas, and there’s a lot of other backs in this draft that I really like, and of course the Ravens got Kenneth Dixon in the fourth round last year which was a heck of a pick for them. Matthew Dayes from N. C. State, you have Jamaal Williams at BYU, De’Angelo Henderson at Coastal Carolina is an interesting kid. I don’t think there will be a team looking to trade up for the running back this year.”

West led the Ravens with 774 yards rushing in 2016, with Dixon adding 302 yards. However, every other team in the AFC North had a back with more yards than West. Le’Veon Bell (1,268 yards) led the Steelers, Isaiah Crowell (952 yards) led the Browns, and Jeremy Hill (839 yards) led the Bengals.

While the Ravens have other pressing needs like cornerback, wide receiver, and pass rusher, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them take a running back early.

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