Joe Flacco

Jets Notes: Bell, Gase, Darnold, Anderson

Here is the latest from the Jets, beginning with some fallout from their disappointing Le’Veon Bell contract:

  • Adam Gase took issue with Bell’s social media habits and was said to have expressed dissatisfaction with the running back last season. That was a two-way street, to a degree. Bell expressed disappointment in Gase’s game plans in 2019, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Bell discussed the prospect of requesting a trade this offseason, should his Jets situation fail to improve, but decided instead to stay the course, Mehta adds. This, however, ended up being a moot subject — largely because of Bell’s disastrous contract. The Jets, who previously shopped Bell’s lucrative deal, released him Tuesday.
  • The Jets will be without Sam Darnold again this week against the Dolphins. The team will hold its starting quarterback out of its Week 6 contest, giving offseason addition Joe Flacco another start. Flacco averaged just 5.9 yards per attempt in a 195-yard day against the Cardinals.
  • By Sunday, Darnold will have missed seven career starts in his three-season NFL tenure. Durability may be a concern, even though Darnold’s absences have been related to two separate injuries and mononucleosis. The former No. 3 overall pick’s coverage recognition, however, has been a discussion point this season, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. The Jets will need to decide on Darnold’s fifth-year option by May, but they may be in position to draft Clemson prodigy Trevor Lawrence. More intel on Darnold will be necessary by season’s end, even if the team does not land the No. 1 overall pick.
  • Robby Anderson‘s Panthers pact has thus far worked out well for Carolina. On a three-game win streak, the Panthers have seen the former Jets deep threat thrive in an all-around role. Anderson has eclipsed 99 receiving yards in four of Carolina’s five games and leads the team — by more than 100 yards — with 489. Anderson did not produce a 1,000-yard season with the Jets and intimated he prefers his Panthers role. “I love being in this system because for so long it was, ‘Oh, he’s only a deep threat,'” Anderson said during an interview with Josina Anderson (via Cimini). “It used to eat me up because I’m like, ‘I know what I can do.’ I love that I’m in this offense, where I really get to catch and run and play football.” Anderson signed a two-year, $20MM deal ($12MM guaranteed) with Carolina.

Jets To Sit Sam Darnold In Week 5

WEDNESDAY: The Jets have confirmed Flacco will take the reins as their Week 5 starter, giving Darnold more time to return to full strength. Adam Gase tabbed Darnold as “week to week.”

TUESDAY: Although Sam Darnold returned to last week’s Jets-Broncos game after absorbing a violent sack, he may be forced to miss time for a third straight season.

The Jets are expected to hold their starting quarterback out against the Cardinals, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets. Some in the organization view it as best to be cautious with Darnold’s AC joint sprain, even though the third-year passer finished last week’s game.

Despite only being cleared to play recently, Joe Flacco would be called upon to start against Arizona in this case. Flacco replaced Darnold after Alexander Johnson slammed the Jets starter to the turf Thursday, but Darnold re-entered the game soon after. Flacco spent the past several months rehabbing from neck surgery.

Darnold has been spotty this season, ranking 27th in Total QBR, though the Jets have been without much of his already shaky skill-position group to start the campaign. Should the USC alum be held out of Sunday’s game, it would be his seventh missed start as a pro. The 2018 No. 3 overall pick missed three games as a rookie because of a foot sprain and was out due to mononucleosis early last season. Darnold played through an AC joint sprain in his left shoulder in high school, per Mehta, but damage to his throwing shoulder is obviously a bit different.

With the Jets’ 0-4 start having placed them as a candidate to land the 2021 No. 1 pick — widely expected to be Clemson prospect Trevor Lawrence — Darnold’s season may take on greater importance. But it might well be paused for a bit.

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Jets’ Joe Flacco Cleared For Full Practice

Joe Flacco‘s hopes of a Week 3 return turned out to be realistic. The veteran quarterback received medical clearance to participate fully in the Jets’ Wednesday practice, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).

While next to nothing has gone right for the 0-2 team this season — one riddled with injuries on offense — the Jets’ one-year Flacco contract looks set to give Sam Darnold a veteran backup for 14 games (health-permitting, at least). Flacco has not played since Week 8 of last season. He underwent neck surgery this offseason but received an opportunity to join former Ravens exec Joe Douglas with the Jets.

This will be the first season Flacco enters as a backup. A starter with the Ravens for 10 1/2 seasons and with the Broncos for the first half of the 2019 campaign, the former Super Bowl MVP has started all 171 games in which he has appeared. A hip injury ended Flacco’s Ravens QB1 run and began Lamar Jackson‘s ascent, and Flacco has searched for a fit since.

The Jets acquired Flacco after drafting James Morgan in the fourth round. It will be the 35-year-old veteran set to take snaps in the event of a Darnold absence this year. Darnold has missed time in each of his two NFL seasons. A foot injury cost him three games in 2018, and a mononucleosis bout sidelined him for three contests last season.

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Jets Notes: Gase, Bell, Ngakoue

Earlier this week, there was yet another tense moment between Jets head coach Adam Gase and running back Le’Veon Bell. As Rich Cimini of ESPN.com details, Gase pulled Bell after two series during Wednesday’s scrimmage because of hamstring tightness. That prompted Bell to take to Twitter to say that there was nothing wrong with his hamstrings and that “it’s tough to stay loose when you do a bunch of standing around.”

Gase said that he spoke with Bell for a long time after the Twitter posts and that the two sides are on the same page. But as Cimini writes in a separate piece, the latest episode might not be the last one. Bell has reportedly had an unimpressive camp, and Gase has previously indicated he wants to reduce Bell’s workload in 2020. So Bell, who needs a productive season in order to avoid being cut — or to land a lucrative contract with another club — is unlikely to appreciate his fellow backs siphoning off his carries. It remains a situation ripe for future turmoil.

Now for more from Gang Green:

  • Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News has previously reported that GM Joe Douglas is under cash-flow restrictions imposed by Jets ownership, and he reiterated that report today. He says ownership gave Douglas a “hard time” after last year’s one-year, $8.4MM contract for Ryan Kalil didn’t pan out, and he also suggests that the club’s tight-fistedness prevented the team from pursuing Yannick Ngakoue, who was just traded to the Vikings (Twitter links).
  • On the other hand, the restraint that Douglas showed in free agency this offseason was generally lauded in light of the team’s recent history with splashy signings, so it’s difficult to say whether that restraint was due to a mandate from ownership or just a deliberately measured approach. And as Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets, the Jets were not hugely interested in Ngakoue to begin with given his struggles against the run and the fact that the deadline for an extension passed on July 15.
  • Backup QB Joe Flacco is eyeing a Week 3 return, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Jets signed the former Super Bowl MVP to back up Sam Darnold, and Flacco has been working his way back from neck surgery.

Jets’ Joe Flacco Won’t Be Ready For Week 1

Joe Flacco has been cleared to throw, but the quarterback says he won’t be ready for the start of the Jets’ season. In an interview with SiriusXM, Flacco explained that his exact timetable is still up in the air. 

[RELATED: Jets, Joe Flacco Agree To Deal]

I can’t speak to exactly when I’m going to be ready, but it will not be day one,” Flacco said (transcript via ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini). “Obviously, we’ll get with the doctors and I have another checkup come August, so we’ll see where that goes.”

Sources tell Cimini that Flacco could get the go-ahead for contact sometime in September. However, he won’t be able to play in Week 1, when the Jets are slated to open up the season against the Bills in Buffalo.

Flacco, 35, joined the Jets on a one-year deal with a base value of $1.5MM. With bonuses, he could earn up to $4.5MM. The Jets are happy to have Flacco in the fold, but they hope that he won’t have the opportunity to earn those incentives. Ideally, Sam Darnold will stay healthy for the duration of the year in what would be his first ever 16-game slate.

First and foremost, I want to help the team in any way possible and also be a guy Sam can lean on, that he can learn from,” Flacco said. “I would say those are the two most important things: Help out the guys on the team and help out Sam to do all they can…For me, personally, I want to play football. I’ve had some things happen, got injured and had to have surgery. I have to find my way back into the league. I want to play for years to come. I think these guys have given me a great opportunity and hope I can make the most of my situation and make the most of whatever my role ends up being.”

With David Fales, rookie James Morgan, and Mike White also on the QB depth chart, the Jets can probably afford to stand pat under center even if Flacco needs more time to recover than expected.

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Jets’ Joe Flacco Cleared To Start Throwing

New Jets quarterback Joe Flacco has been medically cleared to start throwing again, according to Manish Mehta of the Daily News (on Twitter).  The team also believes that the veteran will be on course for contact by early September. In the meantime, he’ll be able to toss the ball and prepare for the 2020 season.

[RELATED: Cowboys Not Interested In Jamal Adams?]

The Jets inked Flacco to a one-year deal on Friday, bringing him in as a veteran backstop to starter Sam Darnold. Flacco will be at the ready in case Darnold misses more time and he also figures to serve as a mentor to the soon-t0-be 23-year-old. Earlier in his career, Darnold had a similar dynamic with Josh McCown.

The Jets’ first choice for the QB2 role was Andy Dalton, but the Cowboys beat them to the punch. After that, Flacco stood as the most attractive option. Or, at least, the most attractive and realistic option. Cam Newton is still waiting for the right opportunity and he would have cost significantly more than Flacco. The ex-Broncos QB and former Ravens star signed on for just $1.5MM, though performance bonuses could take him up to $4.5MM. Outside of those notables, May’s free agent QB market included the likes of Blake Bortles, Drew Stanton, 2019 Jet Trevor Siemian, and Matt Moore, who was not high on their list despite his relationship with head coach Adam Gase.

With Flacco in the fold, the Jets will have some decisions to make in the QB room. Currently, they have David Fales, fourth-round pick James Morgan, and former Cowboys Day 3 pick Mike White on the roster.

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Jets, Joe Flacco Agree To Deal

Although Joe Flacco is recovering from a neck surgery that is expected to keep him out of action for months, he agreed to terms with the Jets on Friday. The former Ravens and Broncos quarterback will sign a one-year deal, according to his agency (Twitter link).

This will add an experienced arm for a Jets team that previously featured a thin depth chart behind Sam Darnold. The Jets did re-sign David Fales and drafted James Morgan in Round 4 this offseason, but Flacco (if healthy) obviously offers a higher floor. After expressing interest in Andy Dalton, the Jets landed his longtime AFC North rival.

Flacco’s deal will be worth $1.5MM with incentives that could bring the price up to $4.5MM, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The 12th-year veteran is also expected to be ready to participate in training camp, though Schefter tweets the former Super Bowl MVP likely will not be medically cleared until September.

Talks between Flacco and the Jets transpired for weeks, according to Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan (on Twitter). The Eagles also showed interest earlier this offseason but backed off after the draft, Caplan adds. Philadelphia drafted Jalen Hurts in the second round.

A Flacco deal during the COVID-19 pandemic — when teams cannot have their medical staffs examine players — certainly proves interesting. Cam Newton remains in free agency. But the former certainly represents a cheaper option. Jets GM Joe Douglas has extensive familiarity with Flacco. Douglas was with the Ravens as their northeast area scout when they drafted Flacco out of Delaware in 2008. Douglas was still with Baltimore when Flacco turned in his career-defining playoff run that secured the franchise’s second Super Bowl title four years later.

The former Division I-FCS standout is now 35 and will arrive in the Big Apple after some injury-marred seasons. After a torn ACL ended his seven-plus-year start streak in 2015, Flacco battled back trouble in 2017. Though he played 16 games that year, the Delaware alum missed time with a hip malady in 2018 and saw Lamar Jackson take his job. Flacco’s Broncos season stalled after eight starts, and Denver subsequently pivoted to Drew Lock.

Gang Green has struggled at backup quarterback for years. They went 0-6 in games Darnold did not start over the past two years, and the previous regime’s investments in Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg — who backed up Ryan Fitzpatrick and then Josh McCown — did not work out.

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Jets Searching For Backup QB

After failing to land Andy Dalton, the Jets are still on the lookout for a veteran backup quarterback. There aren’t many experienced options left and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com hears that Matt Moore – viewed by many as a logical candidate – is probably not in the cards.

[RELATED: Jets Wanted Andy Dalton]

Moore overlapped with Gase in Miami, where he started in 17 games. However, 12 of those starts came in the 2011 season. Outside of that, the 35-year-old (36 in August) has never made more than five games in any of his NFL seasons. Despite his lack of starting experience, he’s been an in-demand backup in the past – the Panthers and Chiefs have also leaned on him as a QB2.

With Dalton off the market, Moore off the table, and Cam Newton out of their price range, there aren’t a ton of great QBs in the bargain bin. David Fales could be an option, Cimini notes, since he played under Gase with three different teams. There’s also Joe Flacco to consider, if he’s healthy.

Other available QBs include Blake Bortles, Drew Stanton, and Trevor Siemian, who saw last year’s Jets season end in Week 2. The Jets desperately need a quality backstop for Sam Darnold, but they might have to wait until the summer, or maybe even the end of the summer, to pick up vets dropped by other teams.

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Jets Notes: Mosley, Bell, Flacco

Jets safety Jamal Adams remains a trade candidate, but count linebacker C.J. Mosley as a high-profile member of the defense that wants Adams to stick around.

“[Trading Adams] would be a crazy move,” Mosley said (via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com). “First of all, he’s one of the leaders on the team. … To have that presence in the secondary, a guy that can make plays in the passing game and also plays in the backfield — in the box — that’s always exciting.” 

Mosley himself — who played in just two games in his first year with Gang Green after signing a massive free agent contract last offseason — said he feels great and expects to be at full health for training camp (assuming there is a training camp, of course).

Now let’s take a look at a few more Jets-related items:

  • Another big-name player who looks like a trade candidate is running back Le’Veon Bell. Bell disappointed in his first season with the Jets, and many believe he will be released after the 2020 campaign, which would allow the club to realize a significant cap savings with a fairly minimal dead money charge. But if the Jets look like non-contenders at the trade deadline, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv expects them to put Bell on the trade block in the hopes of recouping some sort of draft compensation for him.
  • The Jets addressed one of their biggest needs in the first round of the draft by adding massive Louisville LT Mekhi Becton. Becton may be more raw than some of his fellow LT prospects, but he also has a tremendously high ceiling, and he could be protecting Sam Darnold‘s blind side right away. However, free agent acquisition George Fant hopes to fill that role in 2020. Per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, Fant wants to play on the left side, though the former Seahawk also indicated he is willing to play RT if necessary (Twitter link). “Right now I’m just ready for an opportunity,” Fant said.
  • GM Joe Douglas signed WR Breshad Perriman in free agency and added a high-upside receiving prospect in Denzel Mims in the draft, but Brian Costello of the New York Post believes the Jets could look into re-signing Demaryius Thomas. Thomas, 32, wants to continue his playing career, and though he is nowhere close to the player he once was, he proved himself to be a strong locker room presence in 2019 and could be a good mentor for Mims.
  • Veteran QB Joe Flacco may not be recovered from his neck surgery until late August or mid-September, but Cimini believes he would be a good fit for the Jets. In the same piece linked above, the ESPN scribe says New York must add a veteran backup for Darnold, and Douglas — who championed Flacco as a member of the Ravens’ staff in 2008 — could take a look at the former Super Bowl MVP.
  • Betty Wold Johnson, the mother of Jets owners Christopher Johnson and Woody Johnson, has passed away at the age of 99, as Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk writes. Though Betty Johnson did not have a formal role with the team, she was considered the club matriarch and was beloved by players and execs.

Joe Flacco Undergoes Neck Surgery

Joe Flacco‘s Broncos season ended early because of a neck injury, and the free agent quarterback underwent a procedure recently. The veteran quarterback had neck surgery in early April, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio tweets.

The rehab from what NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero described as a 45-minute operation will sideline Flacco until late August or potentially mid-September (Twitter link). This could certainly delay Flacco’s opportunity to catch on with another team for a while.

The Broncos released Flacco in mid-March and plan to go with Drew Lock as their 2020 starter. Denver traded a fourth-round pick for the longtime Baltimore passer last year but saw Flacco’s season end after eight games. He only played in nine with the Ravens in 2018 but was healthy enough to return later that year.

While the 35-year-old quarterback could return to the backup radar at some point this offseason, this figures to keep him parked in free agency for the time being. Although the NFL released a statement indicating facilities could reopen during the offseason, the uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic has caused disproportionately affects injured players. Teams being unable to have their medical personnel examine players has kept Cam Newton on the market as well. Flacco is now squarely in this boat.

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