At some point during Joe Flacco's career, it wasn't unreasonable to wonder if he was an #elite quarterback. Those days are long gone, though. It's not longer a question worth asking. During the past few seasons, Flacco's answered the question himself, morphing into a subpar NFL quarterback.
"I sucked," Flacco said, via ESPN. "It wasn't good."
He's not wrong. In a 26-9 loss, Flacco went 31 of 49 for 235 yards (4.8 yards per attempt), one touchdown, two interceptions, and a 64.6 passer rating. It's also not an anomaly. Against the Jaguars last week, Flacco was even worse, going 8 of 18 for 28 yards, two picks, and a 12.0 passer rating. So, at least he's improving, right?
According to ESPN's Jamison Henley, the Ravens have scored one touchdown in their past 28 drives with Flacco under center. Flacco's interception streak has also reached 10 games. The last time Flacco posted a passer rating above 90 in a single season? 2014. Flacco has actually only finished with a passer rating above 90 twice in his career with 2010 being the other season.
Flacco's quality of play (poor) should have the Ravens worried. At 2-2, with a trip to Oakland up next, and with their anemic offense, they don't appear to be heading toward the postseason. And at some point, the Ravens can't just worry about this season, they also need to start worrying about their long-term future. It's been awhile since Flacco's been a playoff-caliber quarterback and it's no longer outrageous to suggest the Ravens need to part ways with him.
The only problem? It makes no financial sense to cut him. According to Spotrac, it would cost the Ravens $28.75 million in dead cap if they cut him next year and $16 million if they cut him in 2019. Flacco's dead cap won't become somewhat tolerable until 2020, when it drops to $8 million. So yeah, the Ravens are stuck in a bad situation with no real escape hatch.
In the meantime, they will have to hope their defense is strong enough to overcome shoddy quarterback play. And maybe, if that defense is good enough to carry them into January, Flacco can do his best 2012-13 impression when he went on a historic playoff run en route to a championship. Don't bet on it, though.