On Wednesday, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh announced that Lamar Jackson will serve as the Ravens’ starting quarterback going forward. Jackson took over for the incumbent QB Joe Flacco after Flacco suffered a hip injury in Week 9. Jackson has gone 3-1 since and almost beat the AFC’s top team last week. Harbaugh had little choice but to stick with the dynamic Jackson, which all but ends Flacco’s tenure in Baltimore.
So what now for Flacco?
The market for Flacco is a confusing one. On one hand, he is a former Super Bowl MVP, he has a ridiculous 10-5 record in the playoffs, he has literally never lost a first-round playoff game, and he has one of the strongest arms in the league. When you keep the pocket clean, he can deliver absolute dimes.
It's safe to say that Joe Flacco is having fun with his new trio of wide receivers. All three caught a touchdown yesterday, including this from Michael Crabtree!
— PFF (@PFF) September 10, 2018
On the other hand, it has been four years since he has even been in the playoffs, his yards per attempt was a career low 5.7 last season, and he has completely ignored wide open guys this season.
Not sure if Joe Flacco missed the wide open Lamar Jackson or if he's just being pettypic.twitter.com/p75fGjBp02
— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) November 4, 2018
He has shown throughout his career he can not carry an offense on his back alone. When you rely on Flacco to win games on his own, he will force one into the heart of the defense and get picked. But if he has the right pieces, he can be a high-end QB. He needs at least one receiver to win contested catches, a sure-handed tight end to dump off to, and a running game for play-action passes. Adding a high-end defense certainly helps too. If a team feels they have the pieces, Flacco is a great short-term fix under center.
Naturally, many have connected Flacco to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags are moving on from QB Blake Bortles this offseason and will be in the market for a signal-caller. The appeal is obvious in Jacksonville. Leonard Fournette is going to drive the play-action pass and the defense is as formidable as you will find.
However, the receiving corps isn’t a great match for Flacco. Donte Moncrief is the closest to a tough-yards receiver on the roster, and the Jags might as well not even have a tight end.
The more ideal fit for Flacco is likely a few hours south, in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers starting wide receivers, Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, are both upgraded versions of Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. OJ Howard and Cameron Brate are both better than Dennis Pitta. Wherever you look on the Tampa Bay depth chart, you’ll see upgraded versions of the 2011 Ravens pass catchers. If Peyton Barber or Ronald Jones can produce out of the backfield and they invest in the offensive line, this offense was built for Flacco. In fact, if Joe ends up in Tampa Bay, he will have more yards on defensive pass interference than Lamar Jackson will have passing next season.
Honestly, I hope it happens. Flacco has been nothing but a great guy during his career. Hopefully, he will be successful wherever he goes. So long Joe, and thanks for the memories.