Joe Flacco’s career as a Baltimore Raven appears to have ended with him in a knit cap on the Ravens’ bench, watching the Ravens fall to the Los Angeles Chargers in the wild-card playoffs.
The obvious was put to words, as Head Coach John Harbaugh talked about Flacco’s future being somewhere other than Baltimore after Sunday’s season-ending loss.
Harbaugh made it clear that the Ravens are now led under center by Lamar Jackson, whose dynamic playmaking style transformed the team’s offense, pushed Baltimore to the AFC North crown and excited the fanbase.
“I mean, Lamar is our quarterback going forward – no question about that,” Harbaugh said.
Flacco is slated to make $26.5 million next season, per Spotrac. That’s way too much for a backup, meaning the Ravens will explore a trade or release Flacco this offseason.
Harbaugh said he didn’t have any specific details on Flacco’s future, but it’s clear what’s on the horizon.
“Joe Flacco is going to play really well in this league,” Harbaugh said. “Joe can still play; I think we saw that in the first half of this season. Joe’s going to have a market. A lot of teams are going to want Joe, because they understand that. I’ll be in Joe’s corner, wherever he’s at, unless we play him.”
Harbaugh and Flacco have been linked since 2008, when Harbaugh was hired to be the Ravens’ head coach and Flacco was drafted in the first round a few months later. They’ve had a ton of success together, including seven playoff appearances in 11 seasons and a Super Bowl XLVII victory.
“He’s special,” Harbaugh said. “Joe Flacco is a great talent. He’s an even better person. He’s the best quarterback in the history of the Ravens, without question. That’s not even because I’m biased – it’s just a fact. He’s going to be just fine.”
Flacco has handled the Ravens’ transition to Jackson with his typical class and professionalism. Even Sunday, with Jackson struggling in his first playoff game, Flacco didn’t second-guess coaches’ decision not to turn to “January Joe.”
“You can’t even go there, man,” Flacco said. “I thought Lamar did a great job of just hanging in there. You know, he gave us a chance at the end.”
Asked about his future plans, Flacco simply said, “It’s not really up to me. We’ll see what happens.”