With the Baltimore Ravens moving on to Lamar Jackson as their starting quarterback, these five teams could have interest in Joe Flacco looking toward next season.
After losing three straight games heading into their bye, the Baltimore Ravens won the first three games Lamar Jackson started to put themselves right back into the playoff conversation. A hip injury for Joe Flacco opened that door and though he was cleared to play last week, he was inactive and Jackson started a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has suggested Flacco will play and be part of the game plan this week, but on Wednesday Jackson was named the starter for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Flacco as the No. 2 quarterback,
So barring injury to Jackson, Flacco has surely made his last start for the Ravens and he may have already taken his last meaningful snap for the team.
Pre-Kirk Cousins, Flacco stood as the quintessential example of betting on himself and cashing in. He went into a contract year without a new deal, then promptly delivered a nearly flawless playoff run that culminated in being Super Bowl MVP.
He then got a six-year, $120.6 million deal, with a three-year extension tacked on a couple years ago to take him through 2021.
But none of the next three seasons carry fully guaranteed salary ($18.5 million in 2019, $20.25 million in 2020 and $24.25 million in 2021) and the Ravens can just cut him with relatively minimal consequence ($16 million in dead cap for 2019, $8 million in dead cap for 2020, per Spotrac).
Given the ever-increasing financial market for quarterbacks, teams may see Flacco (even in his mid-30s) as a bargain and be willing to trade for him.
He has underachieved overall since he signed his big contract, but prior to his hip injury this year Flacco was playing reasonably well (2,465 passing yards, 10.6 yards per completion, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions in nine games).
The Ravens are changing the guard, with Harbaugh possibly gone too after the season. But these five teams could, and perhaps should, have interest in Flacco.
5. Washington Redskins
With Alex Smith’s future in doubt after a severe broken leg and as he surely won’t be ready for the start of next season, the Redskins will be looking for a quarterback this offseason.
The draft is a more likely path, given the contract Smith got last offseason and the significant financial implications of releasing him before the end of the 2020 season. If he is forced to retire, it gets less prohibitive.
The Redskins could wait for Flacco to be released, then pay him far less than the $18.5 million he’d be currently slated to make next year on a one-year deal.
But a trade for him wouldn’t necessarily be out of the question, if they could include a player and that salary to help offset having so much cap space allocated to quarterbacks.