Joe Flacco is going to have a new home in 2019.
After their Wild Card loss on Saturday afternoon, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said the 33-year-old will “have a great market” this offseason and that Lamar Jackson is the quarterback of the future for this franchise.
John Harbaugh on Joe Flacco: “Joe can still play... Joe’s going to have a market, a lot of teams are going to want Joe. ... Joe Flacco is a great talent, he’s a better person, he’s the best QB in the history of the Ravens... he’s going to be just fine.”— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) January 6, 2019
It makes sense — Flacco was benched by a 4-5 Ravens team that went on a hot streak in the second half of the season when Jackson came in. Baltimore (inexplicably) finished 10-6 largely because of Jackson’s legs. He’ll need to improve his passing game if this team wants to win in the postseason, but Jackson is an incredibly gifted athlete who won six of his first seven starts, the only loss coming in overtime against a Super Bowl contender in the Kansas City Chiefs.
Unlike Nick Foles who I didn’t mind coming to Jacksonville (until I saw the Philadelphia Eagles would be demanding draft picks for him) I would mind Flacco coming on board. His cost is too high and his talent is too low for a team that desperately needs to clear money off the books.
Any free agent quarterback is going to be expensive with Flacco likely demanding a salary that is way above his current level of play — he earned $24,750,000 this year alone and a multi-year deal will likely average him around that much.
I mean, if Sam Bradford can get a one-year, $15 million deal and Blake Bortles can get a 3-year, $54 million deal last year, imagine what some front office is going to pay for a quarterback who won a Super Bowl.
Like I said, Jacksonville desperately needs to clear its books to sign guys like Jalen Ramsey, Yannick Ngakoue, and Myles Jack. You don’t mortgage the future of multiple Pro Bowl caliber players on defense for what would be a one-year window at best.
Like Bortles, Flacco had a similarly poor offense around him in Baltimore last season. The run game — led by undrafted free agent running back Gus Edwards — really started to pick up when Lamar came in to shoulder some of the production. But with Flacco in at quarterback, the run game topped 100 yards total just five times in nine games and saw a high of 123 yards.
Okay, with a guy like Flacco, your offensive production relies on passing the ball, right? With Flacco, the Ravens averaged more than 42 attempts per game last year. But with all those passes he averaged just 6.5 yards per attempt — good for 31st in the league and even below Bortles.
Well, maybe the average per pass attempt is so low because Flacco’s game is accuracy. Nope. He completed just 61.2 percent of his passes, good for 29th in the league and just barely higher than Bortles completing 60.3 percent of his passes.
So the plan is to bring Flacco to an offense with less talented receivers and running backs and have him throw the ball a ton, thereby being less efficient than the guy who was benched for Cody Kessler?
If you wanted to pay Foles before his price tag started to include Day 1 draft picks, fine. It’s too much money but he’d be enough of an improvement over Bortles to notice a difference.
But Flacco? Just draft a guy.