The Ravens’ nightmare season continues — after losing running back Justin Forsett to a fractured arm earlier today, quarterback Joe Flacco will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL, and perhaps his MCL, according to Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links).
Baltimore beat the Rams today to improve to 3-7 on the season, but they still trail both the Bengals and the Steelers in the AFC North, and a multitude of teams in the AFC Wild Card race. Based on the standings alone, a playoff berth for the Ravens was an extreme longshot, and given the wave of injuries that have hit the club, the postseason can all but be ruled out. Baltimore will now have placed four of its key players — Flacco, Forsett, Steve Smith, and Terrell Suggs — on season-ending injured reserve.
Flacco had never missed a game during his eight-year career, an impressive run of durability that will now come to an end. Record-wise, 2015 has been the worst season of Flacco’s career, but he was completing passes at a career-high rate of 64.8% while averaging more than 275 yards per game, and posted a 13-10 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Flacco’s injury has presents a new concern for the Ravens regarding his contract situation — Flacco’s cap number will jump to more than $28MM in 2016, and as Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap notes (via Twitter), that’s a cap charge that will inevitably need to be addressed. An extension would seem to be the obvious method to bring that figure down, but with Flacco now having suffered a major injury, the Ravens could be wary of such a financial remedy.
The Ravens will turn to backup quarterback Matt Schaub for the remainder of the season. Schaub, of course, has a wealth of starting experience, and did have some success during his run with the Texans. Baltimore doesn’t currently have another quarterback on either its active roster or on the practice squad, so the club will need to act quickly to bring in another signal-caller. The trade deadline has passed, so the Ravens will need to look to the free agent ranks to find a replacement. Jordan Palmer, for one, has experience with Baltimore offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, as the two worked together in Chicago.
Getting through the rest of the season without Flacco isn’t the only concern for the Ravens, however. The timetable of Flacco’s injury and recovery period could put his availability for beginning of the 2016 season in question, meaning Baltimore might need to heavily in the backup QB position (Schaub is only signed through 2015). Simply completing offseason work could also be a struggle for the Ravens, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com notes (via Twitter), as they’ll need to bring in an arm or two for minicamps, OTAs, and training camp.