Ravens’ Harbaugh: Flacco will ‘have a market’

Following the Baltimore Ravens’ playoff loss Sunday, head coach John Harbaugh spoke frankly about the imminent end of the Joe Flacco era in Baltimore.

Dec 16, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) warms up in the rain prior to his first career game as a backup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

“Lamar (Jackson) is our quarterback moving forward, there’s no question about that,” Harbaugh told reporters, before indicating the Ravens will move on from Flacco this offseason.

“Joe Flacco is going to do really well in this league,” Harbaugh said. “Joe can still play. I think we saw that the first half of the season. Joe’s going to have a market. A lot of teams are going to want Joe because they understand that and 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 quarterback in the history of the Ravens, no question. That’s not even just ‘cause I’m biased; that’s just a fact. … He’s going to do just fine.”

Flacco, who turns 34 on Jan. 16, hurt his hip in Week 9 and never got his starting job back from Jackson. Harbaugh said he considered putting Flacco in on Sunday with the Ravens trailing the Los Angeles Chargers by three scores in the second half of Sunday’s loss, but he ultimately decided not to.

Flacco finished the season with 2,465 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions in nine games, going 4-5 as a starter. His interception rate (1.6 percent) was a career best, but his completion percentage (61.2 percent) was his worst since 2013.

A first-round pick in 2008, Flacco went 96-67 in 11 years with the Ravens, becoming the franchise leader in all major passing categories with 38,245 yards, 212 touchdowns and 136 interceptions. His playoff run after the 2012 season — when Flacco threw for 1,140 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in four games en route to Super Bowl MVP honors — remains one of the best ever by a quarterback.

Jackson was the 32nd overall pick in April’s draft and became the youngest starting quarterback in NFL playoff history on Sunday, a day before his 22nd birthday.

He finished the regular season 99 of 170 (58.2 percent) for 1,201 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions while rushing 147 times for 695 yards (4.7 average) and five scores.

Flacco is due $18.5 million in base salary in 2019, though none is guaranteed. The Ravens would incur a $16 million dead-money charge against the cap by trading or releasing him, though that would still represent a savings of $10.5 million off his $26.5 million cap number for 2019. If released with a post-June 1 designation, Flacco would count $10.5 million against Baltimore’s cap in 2019 and $5.5 million in 2020.

Any team acquiring Flacco via trade would have him under contract for three years and $63 million, with none of that figure guaranteed.

—Field Level Media

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