Will He Be Back For Start Of 2016 Season?
Losing Flacco for the rest of the 2015 season is a tough blow for the Ravens, but they were already long shots to make the playoffs after a 3-7 start. The question now is when Flacco will be ready to get back on the field. Players have come back from serious knee injuries in six to nine months, but every recovery is a little different. This is the first time for Flacco to go through a serious injury like this, so everything will be new territory for him. If Flacco were to take eight months to return to the field, it would put him at back on the field at the start of training camp, and early prognosis is that he will return for camp. He'll have 10 months to recover for Week 1. The Ravens certainly won't rush their franchise quarterback back to the field, but the injury will lead to questions at the position for the first time since 2008.
Does The Injury Have Lingering Impact?
Plenty of quarterbacks have suffered serious knee injuries and come back to full strength – maybe even better. Tom Brady, Carson Palmer and Philip Rivers are a few recent examples. The expectation will be for Flacco to return to his old form, but that clearly depends on how his body responds to the injury and rehab. Flacco isn't a quarterback who primarily relies on his mobility, so the knee injury probably won't have the same kind of effect as it did on a quarterback like Washington's Robert Griffin III. Flacco will also have to overcome the mental aspect of a serious knee injury, and not lose his confidence standing tall in the pocket.
Will Ravens Bring In Another QB Option?
The Ravens have to bring in another quarterback this week as backup Matt Schuab will step into the starting role. Schaub signed with Baltimore on a one-year deal this offseason, so the Ravens currently have no healthy quarterbacks signed through next season. The Ravens could try to resign Schaub, who will be 35 next year, or they could sign another free agent or draft a quarterback. General Manager Ozzie Newsome hasn't spent many draft resources on quarterback the last eight years because Flacco is the entrenched starter and has been so durable, but he may need to spend a higher draft pick to bring in another insurance plan.
How Does Missed Time Affect Development Of WRs?
The Ravens already had questions about the passing game for 2016, and Flacco's injury only complicates matters. First-round pick Breshad Perriman will make his debut next year after missing this entire season with a partially torn PCL, and the offseason practices are usually a critical time to develop timing with the quarterback. Flacco won't have that time with Perriman, or any of Baltimore's receivers. It's also unknown if Flacco's injury will have any bearing on wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and whether he decides to return for another year. Regardless of who the Ravens have in their receiving corps next year, Flacco will have to make up for the lost time.
Do Contract Negotiations Change?
Flacco and the Ravens have already acknowledged that the plan is to get back to the negotiating table this offseason. Flacco will be going into the fourth year of a six-year contract, and his salary cap hit skyrockets to a reported $28.5 million. The plan has been to work out an extension to flatten the cap number and get Flacco under contract for several more years. It's uncertain whether the Ravens will change their strategy given Flacco's injury. Owner Steve Bisciotti has said previously the Ravens have a plan if Flacco plays next year under the inflated cap number, and the negotiations with the quarterback will be one of the most significant storylines of the offseason.