Flacco said it isn't his job to help with the development of second-round pick Drew Lock, Troy Renck of ABC 7 Denver reports. "I am not worried about developing guys," Flacco said. "I don't look at that as my job. My job is to go out and win games for this football team." The comments sound a bit harsh taken out of context, but Flacco is simply making the point that he's too busy learning a new offense and developing chemistry with new teammates to worry about what happens in Denver beyond 2019. He seems to have the full support of coach Vic Fangio, who said the 34-year-old quarterback will take all the first-team reps throughout the offseason program. Flacco's performance in recent seasons suggests Lock has a good chance to make starts before the end of the year, though there doesn't seem to be any competition for the Week 1 job. Flacco and offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello have their work cut out for them, as Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles) is up against the clock to be ready for the opener, while the rest of the wideout corps accounts for 103 combined receptions in the NFL.
Despite trading for Flacco, the Broncos are set to hold workouts with each of the draft's presumptive top four quarterbacks, Nick Jhabvala of The Athletic reports. Jhabvala also reported that general manager John Elway joked a bit about perceptions that he's enamored with Missouri's Drew Lock and indicated that trading back from No. 10 might be difficult with a weak quarterback class. Certainly, there are some mixed signals here. If nothing else, it suggests -- despite Elway's comments that Flacco is entering his prime -- the team is going to exercise due diligence. Though Flacco supporters will point to his return to a Kyle Shanahan/Gary Kubiak system as reason for optimism, Flacco has topped a passer rating of 90.0 just twice in his entire career and not since 2014. For comparison, 72.7 percent of eligible quarterbacks topped a rating of 90.0 last season. Flacco has some work to do to be a fixture in Denver, and the Broncos might strike while the iron is hot before he gets a real chance.
The Ravens agreed in principle Wednesday to trade Flacco to the Broncos, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. The trade won't become official until March 13, when the new league year begins. Baltimore was only able to net a 2019 fourth-round pick in exchange for the quarterback, who is scheduled to earn an $18.5 million base salary in 2019, per OverTheCap.com. Of course, the 34-year-old might be willing to accept a pay cut in exchange for what might amount to one of his best opportunities around the NFL to win a starting job. It isn't clear what the Broncos plan to do with fellow quarterback Case Keenum, who is scheduled for a $21 million cap hit if he's on the roster or a $10 million charge if he isn't (per OverTheCap.com). The Broncos may envision a competition between Flacco and Keenum, or they could trade/release the latter and then bring in a young signal-caller.
Coach John Harbaugh intimated last week that the Ravens likely won't retain Flacco for 2019, instead expecting to proceed with Lamar Jackson as their starting quarterback Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic reports. "Joe Flacco is going to play really well in this league. Joe can still play," Harbaugh said. "I think we saw that in the first half of the this season. Joe's going to have a market. A lot of teams are going to want Joe, because they understand that. I'll be in Joe's corner, wherever he's at, unless we play him." After Jackson replaced an injured Flacco as starter in Week 11 and retained the top gig once the veteran was healthy again en route to guiding the Ravens to six wins in their final seven regular-season contests, there was never much of an expectation that Flacco was long for the roster. Due $18.5 million in 2019, Flacco is too pricey to be rostered as a backup, a reality Harbaugh acknowledged in his comments following the Ravens' wild-card loss to the Chargers on Jan. 6. Given that Flacco has failed to crack 7.0 yards per attempt in any of the past four seasons and owns a mediocre 64:46 TD:INT over that span, it's fair to wonder if that salary may be too rich for another team to pay even if it envisions him serving as a starter. With that in mind, the Ravens could struggle to find a trade partner this offseason and may end up releasing him outright, which would enable Flacco to sign with a team at a salary more appropriate for his talent.
Flacco appeared in nine games in 2018, completing 61 percent of his passes for 2,465 yards, 12 touchdowns, and six interceptions before suffering a hip injury and ultimately being replaced by rookie Lamar Jackson. The Ravens' selection of Jackson in the first round of the 2018 draft signaled the end of the Flacco era in Baltimore, but it wasn't clear when exactly the changing of the guard would happen. Flacco kept the job out of camp and started out strong by completing 64.3 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and two picks to lead the Ravens to a 3-1 record to begin the year. He backslid after that point, however, seeing his completion percentage drop to 58.7 and notching a 4:4 TD:INT ratio in his next four outings before suffering a hip injury. Jackson took over from there and led the Ravens to their first division crown since 2012 and it looks like the future is now in Baltimore. With that, and with Flacco's significant 2019 salary of $18.5 million, it seems that he will be in a different uniform come September.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/22||@Green Bay Packers||22||21.25|
|5||10/06||@Los Angeles Chargers||8||16.89|
|7||10/18||Kansas City Chiefs||23||21.67|
|13||12/01||Los Angeles Chargers||8||16.89|
|15||12/15||@Kansas City Chiefs||23||21.67|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||63.8||3308||17||11||52||1||225|