Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome told reporters that he's "optimistic" of retaining Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco.
Flacco doesn't have a contract for next season. Newsome added that the sides were close before the season, but mutually agreed to halt talks until the end of the season.
"I'm coming away today thinking that we can get a deal done," Newsome told reporters at the "State of the Ravens" season-ending news conference. "We've got deals done with Haloti [Ngata], JO [Jonathan Ogden], Ray [Lewis], Ray Rice, Ed Reed, [Terrell] Suggs. I've got a very good owner who understands the business and understands the importance of certain positions. So, I'm optimistic."
Without an agreement, the Ravens will slap Flacco with the franchise tag, preventing him from becoming a free agent, but taking up $20 million in cap space.
"We're looking to get a fair deal done with Joe," Newsome said. "If we're able to get a deal done, it will allow us to be able to participate more in the market if we so choose. But we understand what the priority is."
Flacco, 28, is younger than Peyton Manning (who's earning $18 million per year) and Drew Brees ($20 million).
"When you do a contract of this magnitude, you look at what is the player's body of work presently," Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, told CNBC. "And what are the expectations going forward over the next four, five or six years. Joe wins on both accounts."
In addition to Flacco, members of the Ravens address other topics, including the notion that they would mount an all-out charge to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
"You have to make sure that the excitement of the day doesn't cloud what we promised to build, and that was a consistent winner," owner Steve Bisciotti told reporters. "I'm just proud for Baltimore, and there is a great pressure off of us."
Though the Ravens intend to sign Flacco to a long-term contract, the team doesn't plan to overpay potential free agents or have some players restructure contracts to keep the roster intact. That's what happened after the team beat the New York Giants 12 years ago.
"We're not going to get caught up in the moment and do things to our salary cap and make decisions in the euphoria of winning that could hurt us in 2014 and 2015, like we did in 2001," Bisciotti said. "Every single veteran (in 2001) was restructured so that, I think, every single veteran could stay, then we ended up losing so many people the next year. We don't want to do that."
Newsome, Bisciotti, coach John Harbaugh and other high-ranking team officials met Wednesday to discuss nearly every player on the roster. Six starters become unrestricted free agents, including Flacco, linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger, and safety Ed Reed.
Newsome would also like to re-sign Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowl star.
"I think he wanted to let some time clear and at that point, he and I will sit down," Newsome said. "I think he realizes there may be some other options out there, but I think if you watched him, if you watched his body language over the course of the last eight to 10 days, (it's apparent) that he loves being here in Baltimore. I think we can use that to help make that relationship last a little bit longer."