Joe Flacco isn’t going to give his suitors what they need.
When Flacco joins another team this offseason — whether through free agency or in a trade (to the team of his choice) — he’ll be making a comeback effort, likely on a team which needs an elite quarterback.
Argue all you want about whether Flacco was elite. At this moment, he’s far from it. The Baltimore Ravens know it. That’s why they’re moving on, a decision that has been months in the making. They knew his cap situation would be such that 2019 would be the year to officially move on, and they found a potential replacement in this year’s draft.
- Flacco’s production has been impeded by injury in recent years. He’s only 33 years old in an NFL where Tom Brady (41) and Drew Brees (39) are still dominant.
- The team’s defense, not Flacco, should be able to carry the team into the playoffs. And in a perfect world, Flacco will shine when he gets there, like he has done in the past.
- He doesn’t seem to like it, but he’s shown he can coexist with young developmental quarterback.
But Flacco isn’t Kirk Cousins, who was a free agent last offseason. He is much more comparable to Alex Smith. Before getting injured, Flacco was averaging 6.5 yards per attempt (30th in NFL), just worse than Smith, who averaged 6.6 (29th). Even before Smith suffered his brutal leg injury, the Redskins were pretenders — the cracks showed in their 38-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons before Smith went out. Any team led by Flacco would be the same.
To make things worse, he’d require a significant financial investment. Nothing will overhype a quarterback more than a trip to free agency, and teams will think they can help Flacco maintain or even reach new heights. But let’s face it: Flacco has long been overrated. A change of scenery is more likely to hurt him than help, as the Ravens have long been a team that throws at an enormous volume.
Last spring, Jason Lisk wrote about the Joe Flacco problem the Ravens were facing, and noted the quarterbacks most similar to Flacco, who had been below average for three straight years in their thirties. Nothing that has happened this year changes that outlook.
A team will sign Flacco with the thought that they’re on the verge of a Super Bowl run. Instead, they’ll waste money on Flacco, who may not be able to get a solid roster into the playoffs. Such a move would also enable a team to put off the important process of drafting a developmental quarterback.