Quarterback Joe Flacco signed a six-year contract to remain with the Baltimore Ravens, the team said on Monday in a deal that reportedly makes the Super Bowl MVP the highest paid player in National Football League (NFL) history.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but various media reports said it was worth $120.6 million, moving him past New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, and his six-year, $120 million deal, as the league's top earner.
The laid back Flacco downplayed the importance of the record contract that kept him from shopping his talents around.
"It was pretty uneventful, to tell you the truth," Flacco, 28, told reporters at a news conference. "It's not really a big deal.
"Our goal is to win the Super Bowl. That's always been one of my goals. It's never necessarily been a goal of mine to get paid like this, it's just what comes with the job."
The strong-armed Flacco, the only NFL quarterback to win at least one playoff game in each of his first five seasons, threw for 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in Baltimore's postseason run to the Super Bowl title.
In last month's championship game, Flacco completed 22-of-33 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns against the strong defense of the San Francisco 49ers in a 34-31 victory.
Before the season, Flacco was derided in some circles for declaring himself one of the league's elite quarterbacks since his statistics were not particularly impressive on a team that played conservatively and relied on their staunch defense.
But given a freer hand to throw downfield this season and take advantage of his strong arm, Flacco flourished and the Ravens soared.
Although Flacco said the top salary was not his goal, he did not hide his pride at proving his worth on the field.
"It means a lot. It was never necessarily about the money. But it's definitely about earning that respect," said Flacco, who tossed 22 touchdown passes for 3,817 yards with 10 interceptions in the regular season.
Baltimore drafted Flacco 18th overall out of the University of Delaware in 2008 and he was installed as the starting quarterback as a rookie.
Starting all 80 regular season games of his NFL career, Flacco has thrown for 17,633 yards, 102 touchdowns and 56 interceptions. His 63 total wins (including playoffs) is the most among NFL quarterbacks since he entered the league in 2008.
"Joe is a tremendous competitor and highly motivated to be the best. He's a leader for us and a great team mate," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said.
"He understands that we have more to accomplish, and we intend to do that. Having Joe with us certainly gives a better opportunity to succeed."
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)