The Baltimore Ravens opted to start backup quarterback Lamar Jackson for three consecutive games due to a hip injury Joe Flacco suffered. But in Week 14, Flacco was expected to play and potentially be the No. 2 quarterback behind Jackson against the Kansas City Chiefs. Surprisingly, that didn’t wind up being the case, as the Ravens went a different direction.
As NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport revealed, Flacco was made inactive for the crucial game, leaving Jackson and backup Robert Griffin III to hold down the fort.
Following the news, it led to speculation on Flacco’s future with the Ravens beyond this season. After Baltimore traded up in the 2018 NFL Draft to land Jackson, the obvious hope was that he’d be their long-term answer at quarterback. But it seems the shift to the young signal-caller may have been finalized sooner than expected.
Lamar Jackson’s Play Puts Joe Flacco’s Future in Doubt
Prior to Jackson taking over under center, the Ravens found themselves in serious danger of missing out on postseason play. Jackson first took over against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 11, and Baltimore had lost three straight and four of their previous five games leading up to that. Since the rookie became the team’s starter, they’ve now won three in a row and sit at 7-5, just behind the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4-1).
Although Jackson has struggled with accuracy, completing 57.1 percent of his passes or worse in two of the three wins, his ability to excel as a runner has given the offense a boost. He’s tallied 54 attempts for 265 yards and two touchdowns in that span while opening up the offense.
Jackson may not be the prototypical quarterback, but he’s getting the job done and winning games when the Ravens need it most. It’s apparent this is more than enough to keep Flacco on the sidelines, and possibly end his tenure in Baltimore.
Joe Flacco’s Contract
One key topic in Flacco’s future is his contract. The Ravens find themselves in a tough spot when it comes to potentially releasing him. As Over The Cap shows, Flacco has a cap number of $26.5 million next season and $28.25 million in 2020. Fortunately, the team could get out of the deal without a massive dead money hit, but not immediately.
Cutting Flacco prior to next year would result in $16 million in dead money and just $10.5 million in cap savings. But if they go one year further and release him prior to 2020, the dead money hit drops to $8 million while the team saves $20.25 million in cap space.
The situation is somewhat tough due to Flacco’s contract, and ideally, the Ravens would trade the 33-year-old quarterback. But for the most part, dealing a quarterback after it’s apparent they don’t have much value with their current team is tough to do. So for the time being, Flacco’s future remains very much up in the air, but one thing that seems certain is that Jackson is the Ravens’ focus moving forward.