The 2023 NFL season is officially underway and, just like us, Joe Flacco is watching from afar. As the league enters the first week of the regular season, the former Super Bowl MVP is still without a team. Despite being unsigned, Flacco, 36, remains hopeful that he will eventually latch onto a club and has no thoughts about hanging up his helmet just yet.
"Listen, I can still play," the veteran quarterback told ESPN. "That's me talking, obviously. I'm hoping that there's the silver lining that I'm not anywhere right now and that I can be available to anybody. I'm not saying it's going to be the truth, but if I was tied up with somebody as a backup and just didn't play at all when all of a sudden three guys go down, well, I'd probably be in the back of my head be thinking, 'Oh, man, would I have had an opportunity to go there?'
"So I do think that at the point that my career is in, it is a positive thing in a lot of ways that I'm not anywhere right now, because if somebody does need somebody, at least I'm available."
Flacco had spent the previous three seasons with the New York Jets where he did serve as a backup but did log nine starts during his tenure. Before that, he was in Denver for a lone season with the Broncos in 2019, and, of course, most notably spent 11 years under center for the Baltimore Ravens, who he led to a Super Bowl XLVII title during the 2012 season.
In five appearances last season, Flacco completed 57.6% of his throws and averaged 210.2 yards per game with five touchdowns and three interceptions. New York also went 1-3 in his four starts.
"I still believe that I have all of the athletic and physical tools to do it," he said. "In terms of the quarterback and the mental part of it, I've only gotten better over the last 15 years. So I feel just as physical as I ever have. I mean, not to say that I'm not 27, 28 years old anymore. But I'm in great shape and I don't see a real drop-off."
Flacco noted that his agent did reach out to teams in the spring, but "there didn't really seem to be too much that was biting." However, the veteran is correct in his assessment that sitting out on the open agent market does present an added opportunity to land with a team in the event that its starter or someone else on the depth chart is sidelined. If and when that happens, however, remains to be seen.