The Baltimore Ravens are headed into a pivotal season for the franchise. Ozzie Newsome has made his final draft pick, ceding control to Eric DeCosta. John Harbaugh won a Super Bowl but hasn't been back to the playoffs in several years. Joe Flacco has been below average the last few years despite a monster contract and the team just drafted Lamar Jackson. Terrell Suggs is getting older.
We don't know how all these situations will resolve themselves, but we do know that Flacco is essentially entering his final year with the Ravens, a la Alex Smith with the Chiefs last season.
As Jason La Canfora explained on Wednesday's Pick Six Podcast -- we do this thing DAILY and it's loaded with news and notes and fun takes and colorful personalities and you should subscribe: via iTunes | via Stitcher | via TuneIn | via Google Play -- this is Flacco's swan song no matter how it plays out.
"Here in Baltimore, they've had no passing game really since they won the Super Bowl. And Joe has been on the decline, numbers-wise and health-wise," La Canfora explained. "He's the healthiest he's been in a long time. And that will bode well for him, and that will bode well for them. But in the end, if he has a nice, decent season, it just bodes well for a trade. I don't see them paying Joe Flacco another $25 million next year and having him count another $27 million against their cap."
And, as JLC notes, this was an "inflection point" in Flacco's deal from the get-go. The Ravens knew they might have to move on at this point in time, and potentially planned around nabbing a franchise quarterback in the years leading up to the pivotal moment.
"This was always an inflection point in this contract. It was always a three-year deal," La Canfora continued. "And 2019 was the first year where he could count less against the Ravens cap as a cut player than a player player. It's the first year they could conceivably cut him without blowing up their cap, or blowing up their cash. The guaranteed money is paid out. The cap hit would be much more manageable to cut him than to keep him or to trade him than to keep him."
For JLC's full breakdown of the Ravens situation, listen to the podcast below.
We also cover:
1. Todd Gurley's extension and what it means for other running backs
2. Julio Jones continued holdout and how it ends
3. Josh Gordon's long-term situation in Cleveland
4. Behind the scenes with the Bills for their draft
5. Why the Saints had to trade up for Marcus Davenport