The Ravens' blockbuster $120.6 million contract with quarterback Joe Flacco is an arrangement banking on his future potential and not just how he engineered a Super Bowl victory.

Because Flacco is entering the prime of his career at 28 years old, the New Jersey native is now expected to maintain the Ravens' competitiveness.

The structure of his deal, which has been agreed to in principle and not signed, reflects that hope as it would make him the highest-paid player in the game. Flacco's deal is extremely front-loaded, according to sources with knowledge of the details. It includes a total payout of over $61 million in the first three years that tops New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees' $61 million in the first three years of his $100 million contract.

"You pay players, and especially quarterbacks, based on what they can do for you going forward," said former sports agent Joel Corry, who analyzes contracts and the salary cap for National Football Post. "Ultimately with Flacco, you pay him and make him the highest-paid guy because he had that much leverage and he's a young ascending quarterback with a bright future ahead of him.