Ravens Rumors

Ravens Expected To Cut Or Trade Joe Flacco In 2019

This is not particularly surprising news in light of the team’s decision to stick with rookie Lamar Jackson even though Joe Flacco is once again fully healthy, but Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com) reports that Flacco is not expected to be back with the Ravens in 2019. Jackson is 3-1 in his time as a starter, and he would be 4-0 if not for a difficult loss to the Chiefs in Kansas City last week.

When Baltimore traded back into the first round in this year’s draft to select Jackson, it seemed that Flacco’s time with the Ravens was coming to an end. But Jackson struggled to develop as a passer, the front office finally made a concerted effort to surround Flacco with some weapons, and the team got off to a hot start led by strong play from its long-time signal-caller. The Ravens, though, lost three in a row before Flacco succumbed to a hip injury, and given that Jackson’s presence has opened up the running game, and given that Jackson has made noticeable improvement with his arm (though he is still far from perfect), Baltimore is seemingly prepared to usher in a new era.

This offseason marks the first time the Ravens can cut ties with Flacco and save money against the salary cap, which Rapoport suggests is a possibility. However, RapSheet also says that Baltimore plans to treat Flacco with class and could orchestrate a trade to a team of his choice.

Flacco has received his fair share of criticism over the years, some of which is justified. But the fact remains that, notwithstanding his large contract — which was signed at a time when plenty of teams would have lined up to give it to him — Baltimore’s front office has largely treated the offense as an afterthought, asking Flacco to make hay with a collection of declining veterans or unproven (and generally unproductive) players. Even when the Ravens have tried to invest significant financial or draft resources into the offense, it has rarely worked out (see, e.g.Breshad Perriman).

That is not to mention the parade of uninspiring offensive coordinators the team has employed; it is worth noting that Flacco enjoyed the best regular season of his career when Gary Kubiak served as the team’s OC in 2014, and Baltimore would have qualified for the playoffs in each of the last two seasons if not for backbreaking defensive collapses at the end of the year.

All of which supports Rapoport’s point that Flacco will be a hot commodity this offseason, either as a free agent or as a trade candidate. Rapoport names the Jaguars, Redskins, Dolphins, and Raiders as potential landing spots.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Don Martindale Garnering Interest As HC Candidate; Buzz Around John Harbaugh Growing

  • The Ravens have frequently seen their defensive coaches and coordinators obtain promotions from rival clubs, and they could see more of the same in 2019. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that Baltimore defensive coordinator Don Martindale, in his first year leading the team’s defense after six years as its linebackers coach, is garnering attention around the league as a legitimate head coaching candidate. La Canfora suggests that Martindale could even replace John Harbaugh in Baltimore if the Ravens elect to part ways with Harbaugh.
  • We heard last week that plenty of teams with expected head coaching vacancies are interested in what the Ravens plan to do with Harbaugh, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes that the buzz around Harbaugh is continuing to build. Baltimore could retain the man who may be the hottest head coaching candidate in 2019, but it could also leverage the interest in Harbaugh’s services and try to trade him.

RGIII Does Sit Down

It’s been a long road for Robert Griffin III. After he was released by the Redskins, Griffin wound up in Cleveland as the Browns’ starting quarterback in 2016. He was immediately injured and ended up playing only a few games, and was released after the year. After that he spent the entire 2017 season out of football, and it looked like his career might be coming to an end. But then Griffin inked a deal with the Ravens out of nowhere this past spring, and made the team. While he’s been the third stringer behind Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson and inactive most of the season, Griffin is just happy to be back in the league, and he described his journey in a recent sit down with Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.

“It’s been special because I was not guaranteed a roster spot at the beginning of the year. I had a non-guaranteed contract, a minimal signing bonus and I had to earn it every step of the way”, Griffin said. Griffin was projected to be cut by most analysts because John Harbaugh has very rarely kept three quarterbacks on the active roster, but he had an impressive preseason and earned a spot. Zrebiec writes the Ravens first became interested in the former Heisman Trophy winner in the summer of 2017, but Griffin thought the timing wasn’t right. Griffin also reflected on his experience losing his job in Washington to Kirk Cousins while he was out with an injury, and how it relates to what Flacco is going through right now. The whole conversation is definitely worth a read.

Ravens May Draft DB Early In 2019

  • The Ravens appear likely to target safety help early in the 2019 draft, as Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Eric Weddle could potentially be released next spring if he doesn’t retire, and hanging up the cleats is a possibility for the veteran defensive back giving that he’ll be entering his age-34 campaign. Tony Jefferson won’t be released due to the dead money that would be associated with such a move, but there’s no question Baltimore needs help at safety. As Zrebiec indicates, the Ravens have been horrendous against opposing tight ends, and rank 26th against the position in DVOA.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/12/18

Today’s practice squad moves:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Signed: T Jake Rodgers

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Seattle Seahawks

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/12/18

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Buffalo Bills 

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Signed: OL Jamil Demby (from Lions practice squad)

Miami Dolphins

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Redskins

Ravens To Start Lamar Jackson On Sunday

Joe Flacco is healthy, but he’s not getting his old job back. On Wednesday, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh confirmed that Jackson will start for a fifth consecutive game when the Ravens take on the Buccaneers.

Jackson took the reins when Flacco was diagnosed with a slight tear in his hip. Since then, the Ravens have gone 3-1 in Jackson’s starts and nearly made it 4-0 before the Chiefs topped them in overtime on Sunday. The Ravens have been saying all the right things about Flacco so far, but keeping him on the bench when he’s fully healthy could signal the beginning of the end for him in Baltimore.

The Ravens can cut Flacco after the season and save some money against the cap, though they would also have a dead money hit to contend with. Many expect that Baltimore will go that route, assuming Jackson continues to do enough to prove that he is fully ready for the starting gig moving forward. The Ravens may also be able to trade the veteran signal-caller to a QB-needy team.

Jackson, 21, has been a bit inconsistent in his four starts, but they apparently feel that he gives them the best chance to win moving forward. The Ravens currently have a 55% change of reaching the postseason, according to FiveThirtyEight, and they’re virtually guaranteed a spot in the playoffs if they win out.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

X-Rays Negative For Jackson

  • In the same tweet, Schefter notes that X-Rays on Lamar Jackson‘s ankle came back negative and that he’s expected to play next week against the Buccaneers. Jackson missed the final plays of the Ravens’ thrilling overtime loss to the Chiefs today, and Robert Griffin III filled in. If Jackson’s ankle ends up becoming an issue, it would further complicate the murky situation between him and Joe Flacco.

Latest On John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco both joined the team in 2008, and it seems as though their futures in Baltimore have been entwined ever since. We heard not that long ago that Harbaugh was on the hot seat, but now the Ravens are riding a three-game winning streak and have put themselves squarely back in the playoff hunt (even if they lose to the Chiefs today). And, if the team qualifies for the postseason, one would think that Harbaugh, at least, would be returning to Baltimore in 2019.

But that may not be the case. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that Harbaugh is high atop the wish list for teams that will be looking for a new HC next year, and if the Ravens do want to move on, they could use that to their advantage. They could negotiate some sort of player/draft compensation with the team that wants Harbaugh, and once that compensation is agreed upon, the new team would then be free to negotiate a contract with Harbaugh directly. Of course, if Baltimore goes on a successful playoff run, that could complicate matters, and it is certainly possible that such a scenario would compel the Ravens to keep Harbaugh for themselves,

Flacco, meanwhile, is inactive for the fourth straight week, per Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported this morning (via Twitter) that Flacco has looked good in practice this week and would serve as Lamar Jackson‘s backup this afternoon, and Kansas City head coach Andy Reid even said he expected Baltimore to deploy both Jackson and Flacco. However, the Ravens will now be able to postpone the Jackson vs. Flacco decision for at least one more week.

We knew that Flacco was battling a hip injury, and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that Flacco has been dealing with a slight tear in his hip (video link). Flacco apparently believes he is healthy enough to start, but Rapoport would not be surprised if Baltimore continues to start Jackson until the rookie falters (if he falters). Indeed, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports tweets that, even if Flacco were active today, Jackson would be the guy. Glazer said simply, “Jackson is their QB.”

The Ravens can cut Flacco after the season and save some money against the cap, though they would also have a dead money hit to contend with. Many expect that Baltimore will go that route, assuming Jackson continues to do enough to prove that he is fully ready for the starting gig moving forward. Of course, the Ravens could also trade Flacco to a team in search of a veteran signal-caller.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaylen Hill Not Activated From PUP List

  • The Ravens did not activate cornerback Jaylen Hill from the PUP list, officially ending his season. Recovering from a torn ACL and MCL, Hill was unlikely to take the field after recently suffering a setback.