Quarterback Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens have agreed to terms on a contract that will prevent the Super Bowl MVP from becoming a free agent, the team confirmed Friday evening.
Flacco, 28, is expected to re-sign Monday with the team that drafted him 18th overall out of Delaware in 2008. The Ravens were faced with the prospect of applying either the exclusive or non-exclusive franchise tag to the passer, or agreeing with his request for a new contract that would pay him more than $20 million a season.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh is thrilled his team's top offseason priority has already been addressed.
"I've been hoping all along that it would get done. I've been very confident that it would get done soon," Harbaugh told USA TODAY Sports' Jarrett Bell.
"I knew we were working at it, and we were close. I'm excited."
Fox Sports' Jay Glazer first reported the pending deal. Terms were not yet available. ESPN reported Flacco would become the NFL's highest-paid player in terms of annual salary.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees signed a five-year, $100 million contract in July that guaranteed him $60 million. The Denver Broncos gave Peyton Manning a five-year pact worth up to $96 million in March 2012.
Flacco has never appeared in a Pro Bowl but led the Ravens to a 34-31 Super Bowl XLVII victory against the San Francisco 49ers last month in New Orleans. His agent, Joe Linta, did not respond to text messages and phone calls Friday.
Flacco turned down an extension last offseason, opting to play out the final year of his rookie deal. It's a gamble that paid off handsomely, with Flacco joking he'd make Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti pay up after his three-touchdown Super Bowl performance.
Locking up Flacco, who tied Joe Montana's mark by throwing 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions in one postseason, allows Baltimore to focus on its other potential free agents, a group that includes safety Ed Reed, linebacker Paul Kruger and tackle Bryant McKinnie. The cap-strapped Ravens also need to tender restricted free agents Arthur Jones, Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson.
Flacco passed for 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions during the 2012 regular season and owned the league's 12th-highest passer rating (87.7). However, he was the only starting quarterback to avoid throwing an interception in the 2012 playoffs.
Flacco is the only quarterback in NFL history to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons and has reached the AFC Championship Game three times.
Robert Klemko, USA TODAY Sports