Flacco's 'magic number'

In the short term, all of the talk surrounding Joe Flacco is whether he can win the biggest game of his life on Sunday. Long term, though, all of the focus is on his next contract, because he's set to become a free agent at season's end. Per CBS blogger Will Brinson, CBS' Jason La Canfora believes the Baltimore Ravens will use the franchise tag on Flacco to buy them more time to sign him to a long-term deal and that Flacco would be willing to take less in guaranteed money in order to boost the average annual salary of the contract.

"Yeah they're going to have to franchise him at $14.6 million and then that buys them until July to get him on a long-term deal done," La Canfora said Tuesday. "Some guys get caught up on guaranteed money ... This cat -- he's never been hurt, he's never missed a snap -- he's looking at his average per year. And the closer that is to $20 million a year, the happier he'll be and the more quickly this long-term deal will get done. Maybe it comes in under that ... but 20 is his magic number."

Franchising a player and signing him later in the summer is a technique that is often used, and it could make sense if Flacco and the Ravens need extra time to get on the same exact page. Of course, that short term issue of how well he performs this weekend will have some impact on exactly how his contract pans out in the end.