The Baltimore Ravens announced Monday that they signed quarterback Joe Flacco to a six-year contract.
NFL.com reported Sunday that the deal is worth $120.6 million, the richest in NFL history.
"It wasn't necessarily about the money," Flacco said at his news conference announcing the signing. "It was, at that point, about earning that respect and feeling like I was respected around here. The fact that they have made me that definitely makes me feel good about how I played and how they feel about me."
General manager/executive vice president Ozzie Newsome said in a statement that vividly recalls hoping to draft a franchise quarterback in 2008. That came true when they selected Flacco that year.
"We just returned from the combine, and I remember the days of going there and studying and hoping that one of the quarterbacks could be our guy," he said. " 'Could so-and-so be our third-round Joe Montana or our sixth-round Tom Brady?' We've been out in that desert before. That all changed when we drafted Joe in 2008, and now we've secured him for many more years.
"Joe's a Raven in his style of play, the way he works and prepares, and the way he lives his life. He's a significant reason we've been to the playoffs five years in a row, played in three AFC Championship games, and now, we are the Super Bowl champs with Joe as MVP."
The contract reportedly includes $52 million in guaranteed money, and Flacco will receive a $29 million signing bonus.
He is scheduled to earn $30 million in Year 1, $51 million through Year 2, $62 million through Year 3, $80 million through Year 4, and $100.6 million through Year 5.
Option bonuses of $15 million and $7 million are also part of the deal.
"I'm not going to do anything crazy," Flacco said. "All the celebration I can take is going out and enjoying a nice little time with the people that are close to me and looking at each other saying, 'Man, can you believe where we are?'"
Coach John Harbaugh said in a statement that he has always believed in Flacco.
"I'm very happy for Joe, his family and our fans," Harbaugh said. "He has been our quarterback since Day One, and we've had confidence in him since the beginning. Joe is a tremendous competitor and highly motivated to be the best. He's a leader for us and a great teammate. 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."
Flacco is the first starting NFL quarterback since the 1970 merger to make the playoffs in each of his first five seasons.
Flacco threw three touchdowns to lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers last month and earned MVP honors. The 28-year-old threw 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in the playoffs.
For the season, Flacco threw for 3,817 yards with 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.