Joe Flacco

Jaguars Mulling Joe Flacco Trade

The Jaguars no longer view Blake Bortles as a viable option, and they are exploring the idea of adding another recently demoted passer.

Jaguars brass has discussed the prospect of bringing in Joe Flacco via trade, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. Flacco is open to this potential opportunity, per JLC.

They are also discussing Nick Foles and Ryan Tannehill, La Canfora notes. Foles is not certain to be available, though the current Eagles starter is expected to be. The Eagles are expected to attempt a trade, and the Dolphins are going to explore a Tannehill trade. Both could also hit free agency.

John Harbaugh has now openly broached the subject of a Flacco trade, saying the Ravens’ longtime starter will have a market. But rival GMs do not expect a team to part with anything more than a mid-round pick for the 33-year-old quarterback, La Canfora adds, though pointing out Tom Coughlin and new Ravens GM Eric DeCosta have a strong relationship that could accelerate a deal.

Flacco’s contract runs through 2021. He is due $18.5MM in base salary next season and is set to carry a $26.5MM cap number, though renegotiation could adjust the latter figure. The Jags are likely going to have to eat a $16.5MM dead-money hit on Bortles. The team is projected to be over the cap, so a Flacco trade would need to be accompanied by roster adjustments elsewhere.

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John Harbaugh: “Joe’s Going To Have A Market”

It sounds like Joe Flacco‘s tenure with Baltimore may be coming to an end, but head coach John Harbaugh is still a big fan of his long-time quarterback. Following today’s season-ending loss to the Chargers, Harbaugh said the veteran quarterback should have plenty of suitors during the offseason.

“Joe Flacco is going to play really well in this league. Joe can still play — I think we saw that the first half of the season,” Harbaugh said (via Cindy Boren of the Washington Post). “Joe’s going to have a market. There’s going to be a lot of teams that are going to want Joe because they understand that. I’ll be in Joe’s corner wherever he’s at. He’s special. Joe Flacco is a great talent; he’s an even better person. He’s the best QB in the history of the Ravens without question…He’s going to do just fine.”

Harbaugh all but said that Flacco won’t be in Baltimore next season, although this isn’t much of a surprise. It was clear that the veteran’s tenure with the organization was coming to an end when they decided to stick with rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson following Flacco’s return from a hip injury.

A report from mid-December indicated that the organization would ultimately either cut or trade the 33-year-old. This offseason marks the first time the Ravens can cut ties with Flacco and save money against the salary cap, although reports have indicated that the front office could help move the veteran to a franchise of his choice.

Flacco was still more-than-serviceable in his nine games this season. The veteran signal-caller completed 61.2-percent of his passes for 2,465 yards, 12 touchdowns, and six interceptions. Jackson struggled during today’s loss, and Harbaugh admitted that they considered inserting Flacco into the lineup. Ultimately, the veteran didn’t see the field for what will likely be his final game with the franchise.

If this is indeed the end of Flacco’s tenure in Baltimore, the veteran will finish his stint sitting in first for the majority of the team’s all-time passing stats. The 2008 first-round pick even ranks 15th in franchise history in rushing yards, which only accentuates his all-time value to the franchise.

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AFC Rumors: Broncos, Crennel, Rhule, Henry

Mike Munchak is once again a popular head coaching candidate, with at least four teams interested in his services. But we heard last night that Munchak has strong interest in the Broncos‘ opening, and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) reports that Munchak has emerged as the early favorite for that position. Helping the Broncos’ cause is the fact that Munchak has family, including a granddaughter, in the Denver area.

Now for more rumors and rumblings from the AFC:

  • The Broncos are blocking other teams from interviewing senior personnel adviser Gary Kubiak for offensive coordinator jobs, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Kubiak wants to remain in Denver anyway, but he has expressed interest in returning to the sidelines as an OC, and the Broncos would like him to serve in that role under whomever they hire as their next head coach (assuming that person is comfortable with such an arrangement). The Bengals and Falcons had requested interviews.
  • Texans free agents-to-be Kareem Jackson and Tyrann Mathieu want to be back in Houston next year, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. There has been no word on whether the Texans will move to re-sign Jackson, but the team does want Mathieu back, as we learned yesterday.
  • Romeo Crennel is expected to return as the Texans‘ DC in 2019, per head coach Bill O’Brien (via Wilson on Twitter).
  • The Jets have interest in interviewing Baylor head coach Matt Rhule for their own HC vacancy, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com suggests that Gang Green will get an interview with Rhule (Twitter link). The team is in Dallas interviewing Cowboys defensive backs coach Kris Richard today, and Albert Breer of SI.com believes New York brass could interview Rhule while they’re in Texas (Dallas is about 90 minutes from Waco).
  • Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers should be able to land a lucrative free agent deal this offseason, but since he is not a prototypical speed-rushing DE, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com believes it is difficult to pin down what his value will be on the open market. Reiss suggests Flowers could return to New England after testing the free agent waters.
  • The Chargers will remain without tight end Hunter Henry for today’s playoff bout in Baltimore, but if LA wins today, Rapoport says that Henry will be activated tomorrow in the hopes of suiting up against New England next week.
  • Rapoport reiterates that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will not be back in Baltimore next season, but Flacco (unsurprisingly) wants to continue his playing career, and Rapoport suggests that he will get an opportunity as a starter (video link). The only real question is whether Baltimore will be able to trade him or if the club will be forced to cut him.
  • In addition to Flacco, the Ravens will need to decide what to do with impending free agent C.J. Mosley in the offseason. It would probably be unwise to sink too much money into an inside linebacker who struggles in coverage, but Mosley’s leadership abilities for a defense that could be losing a number of key veterans will certainly be a factor in contract negotiations, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.

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.

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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.

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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.

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AFC Notes: Jets, Browns, Harris, Ravens

Mike McCarthy may well have options going into this coming hiring period, but the Jets might not be a great fit. The status of GM Mike Maccagnan will likely be a deterrent for a coach with other options — in the likely event Todd Bowles is fired soon — multiple NFL executives told Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv. The New York GM has just one more season remaining on his deal and is not expected to follow Bowles out the door. A lame-duck decision-maker could spook McCarthy. With former Packers execs John Dorsey, Alonzo Highsmith and Eliot Wolf in Cleveland, many people around the league believe McCarthy will end up with the Browns, Vacchiano notes. The Browns also have a young quarterback and are projected to possess more than $86MM in cap space. While that’s not on the Jets’ level ($106MM-plus), Vacchiano adds McCarthy is known as being a bit sensitive to criticism. That might be an issue in jumping from the league’s smallest market to its biggest.

Here’s more from the Jets and the latest from the AFC:

  • Josh McCown received another start for the Jets on Sunday, doing so despite Sam Darnold being at or close to 100 percent. The rookie quarterback lobbied to play against the Titans during warmups, Albert Breer of SI.com notes, but Bowles stuck with McCown. Bowles would not commit to Darnold starting against the Bills in Week 14, but Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports Darnold showed he was healthy in practice and will likely return Sunday.
  • On the subject of possible quarterback switches, the Ravens may be able to put off their decision for another week. Joe Flacco was not moving too well this week, walking with a noticeable limp, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com tweets. While the Ravens could be forced into a choice of benching Lamar Jackson (3-0 as a starter) and returning to Flacco for a pivotal game in Kansas City, this call might be tabled. The possibility of Flacco returning as the starter at some point this month is not out of the question, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, but Jackson may see more work off the bench than he previously did when Flacco was healthy. The difficult prospect of preparing for the quarterbacks’ disparate skill sets intrigues John Harbaugh, per Rapoport, so the Ravens may keep it quiet if they do intend to pivot back to Flacco.
  • Although the Broncos improved to 6-6 Sunday, it came at a cost. Denver lost one of its top players in Chris Harris to a fractured fibula. However, the All-Pro cornerback is not going to be placed on IR and has a goal of returning before a potential playoff game. The eighth-year defender wants to return by Week 17, when the Broncos play the Chargers in what could be a key game — if Denver wins out and receives help — for Vance Joseph‘s team. “I always heal fast,” Harris told Aric DiLalla of DenverBroncos.com.“I’ve got the right people around me to help me get back fast and I’ll work night and day to get back. My goal is three weeks, but they said four. My goal is three weeks because I want to play against [the Chargers].” Harris’ other notable injury (a torn ACL) came against the Chargers in a 2013 divisional playoff game, but the corner returned by Week 1 in 2014.
  • By intercepting three passes, Harris already cashed in $200K of the incentive package he agreed to in the offseason. But another key financial bump is tied to playing time. Despite standing to miss perhaps the rest of the regular season, Harris can still earn an additional $300K if his 736 snaps end up being 65 percent of Denver’s season total, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic notes (subscription required), adding that scenario is in play.

North Rumors: Bears, Nagy, Ravens, Vikings

It’s still unclear if Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will be available to face the Giants on Sunday, but Chicago is confident Trubisky’s shoulder injury won’t turn into a long-term issue, as Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com tweets. Trubisky missed the Bears’ Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Lions, but Chicago was still able to manage a victory with backup Chase Daniel under center. The Bears have a 98% chance of earning a postseason berth and an 83% chance to win the NFC North, so they may not want to risk Trubisky’s health in what could be another easy win against New York. Trubisky did practice on Wednesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), although it was in a limited fashion.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • While Trubisky might be healthy enough to play on Sunday, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco almost certainly won’t be ready for Week 13. Flacco, who is still dealing with a hip issue that has cost him two games, didn’t practice on Wednesday and appears likely to sit out Sunday, per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). First-round rookie Lamar Jackson, who has led Baltimore to two victories in his first two starts, figures to be under center again when the Ravens take on the Falcons. Meanwhile, offensive lineman James Hurst returned to practice on Wednesday after being sidelined since mid-October, reports Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Matt Nagy will lead the Bears against the Giants on Sunday, but New York never showed any interest in hiring him as a head coach during the offseason, as he told reporters — including Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com (Twitter link) — on Wednesday. That’s in line with PFR’s 2018 Head Coaching Search Tracker, which shows Nagy only interviewed with the Colts and Bears. The Giants, meanwhile, met with Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia, Steve Wilks, Eric Studesville, and Steve Spagnuolo before hiring Pat Shurmur. Nagy, for his part, could take home Coach of the Year depending on how Chicago’s season ends.
  • Speaking of current Bears coaches, Chicago is worried it could lose defensive coordinator Vic Fangio this offseason, as Jay Glazer of The Athletic writes. Fangio has interviewed for two head positions in the past, but both have been with clubs that already employed him (Bears in 2018, 49ers in 2015). While he didn’t land either of those gigs, Fangio could be in line to move into a head coaching role after that’s currently ranked first in DVOA by a relatively wide margin. As Glazer writes, however, Fangio’s age (60) could work against him as many clubs are searching for younger coaches.
  • By going over the 100-catch mark on Sunday, Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen triggered an escalator in his contract, tweets Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Thielen, who inked an incredibly team-friendly extension last spring, will now see his 2019 base salary increase from $3.85MM to $5.85MM. If he tops 90 receptions in 2019, Thielen will boost his 2020 salary from $5.35MM to $7.35MM.

Ravens To Start Lamar Jackson In Week 13

A potential Joe Flacco-or-Lamar Jackson decision may not be here yet, with the longtime Ravens starting quarterback not yet cleared. But his rookie backup will have another opportunity to stake his claim for the job.

Jackson will start Sunday against the Falcons, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). Flacco has not been cleared, but that could change this week. If he’s cleared and Jackson remains in place as the starter, it could signal an era change in Baltimore.

Flacco’s been the Ravens’ starter since being chosen in the 2008 first round. Coming into this season, he’d missed just six games — all in 2015 — and had the Ravens in playoff contention this year prior to going down with a hip injury. But against a tough part of their schedule, the Flacco-led Ravens lost three straight. Under Jackson, against the Bengals and Raiders, the Ravens have won their past two games and are in a stronger position for a postseason spot.

Jackson has a long way to go as a passer, but he’s helped the Baltimore ground game immensely. The Ravens rushed for 267 yards against the Bengals and 242 against the Raiders. They hadn’t exceeded 123 in any of their first nine contests. Jackson amassed a Ravens-record 117 yards on the ground in Week 11 and gained 71 rushing yards Sunday.

The Ravens have not seen Flacco on their practice field since he suffered the hip injury, and The Athletic’s Jeff Zreibec notes (via Twitter) it will take a full week of practice before the Ravens consider turning back to Flacco. John Harbaugh stopped short of indicating Flacco would get his job back when he was healthy again.

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John Harbaugh Won’t Commit To Joe Flacco As Starter

Just when the Ravens’ season was on the line and they were on the verge of being eliminated from the playoff race, they responded with two straight wins. With Joe Flacco sidelined with a hip injury, rookie Lamar Jackson slid in as the starter and beat the Bengals and Raiders in his first two career starts. Now Ravens coach John Harbaugh isn’t ready to commit to Flacco getting his job back when he’s healthy, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com.

Whether the decision has been made or not, it’s not important for anybody to know but us. If I decide to do it one way or another, I don’t want our opponent to know. So, I’m probably not going to announce it for obvious reasons, just to make it tough for our opponent” Harbaugh was quote as saying.

If Harbaugh was going to give Flacco the job back, he probably would’ve continued to say as much, and the fact that he was so non-committal would seem to indicate he’d prefer to stick with Jackson. It would be pretty hard for Harbaugh to take it away from Jackson now, so we should probably tentatively expect to continue to see Jackson make starts.

Harbaugh isn’t in any position to play for the future, so whatever decision he makes will be the one he feels like gives the team the best chance to win. Harbaugh is on an extremely hot seat, and it was reported earlier today that Ravens players were expecting him to be fired if the team didn’t make the playoffs. Jackson has flashed electrifying talent, but has also struggled as a passer at time. They’ve won both his starts, but they’ve come against two of the worst defenses in the league. It’s possible the team will go back to Flacco as they prepare to play a much tougher slate of defenses, but it’s also looking highly possible that we’ve seen the end of the Joe Flacco-era in Baltimore.

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