The Jacksonville Jaguars have identified Joe Flacco as one of their primary quarterback options for 2019, according to league sources, and have held internal conversations about a possible trade. Flacco, 33, who will not be back with the Ravens in 2019, is open to the possibility, sources said.
The Jaguars have been interviewing candidates for their offensive coordinator job, and have overhauled much of their staff on that side of the ball. In conversations with potential coaches, it has become clear that Blake Bortles is not an option back there next season, and sources said Flacco, Eagles backup Nick Foles and Dolphins oft-injured starter Ryan Tannehill are names the Jaguars brass are mulling. With a limited group of free agents and a far weaker quarterback draft class from a year ago, this is a shallow field to choose from, and Flacco's résumé stands out.
The former Super Bowl MVP is set to make $18.5M next season and has no future guarantees or bonus payments remaining on his deal. He fits the model of quarterback that team president Tom Coughlin has won with before, and Flacco is eager for a change of scenery after injuring his hip and losing his job to rookie Lamar Jackson this season.
Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell and new Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta have a very strong relationship and have quickly put deals together in the past (such as Baltimore trading for Jaguars starting left tackle Eugene Monroe), and with Coughlin nearing the end of his career and the Jaguars opting not to blow up their coaching staff or front office, the onus is on them to win now. If the Giants seriously opt to move Eli Manning, Coughlin would be an obvious executive for New York to call, as well, but that is far less certain that Flacco's immediate availability.
Foles is playing great football again, but there are concerns about his ability to get through a 16-game season. Tannehill has been even more injured than Flacco in recent years and has never solidified himself as a winning quarterback. The interest in Flacco is not expected to run deep – the Dolphins may also get involved, depending on the outcome of their coaching search – and rival GMs don't anticipate the Ravens getting more than a mid-round pick for Flacco, given the fact the entire league knows he will be released if not traded, and thus a free agent due no draft-pick compensation.
A year ago, the Redskins and Chiefs agreed to a trade involving starting quarterback Alex Smith before the Super Bowl, and Flacco could be dealt in a similar fashion this year, assuming there is agreement about his value. His steep $26.5M cap hit could be alleviated by a relatively simple restructuring.