So What Really Is Joe Flacco's Trade Value?
There's no doubt that Joe Flacco will not be in a Ravens uniform in 2019. And since Baltimore is going to part ways with its former franchise quarterback, it would obviously be better to get something in return than straight release Flacco.
So, what is Flacco's true trade value?
It's one of the Ravens' biggest questions heading into the offseason, and a task for new General Manager Eric DeCosta. And there are a lot, a wide range of opinions on what DeCosta may be able to get in return (if anything).
Last week, Head Coach John Harbaugh doubled down on his comments from just after the Ravens' season ended that there will be a market for Flacco's services.
"[Flacco's] value is high. I'm not just saying that, OK, but I do believe that," Harbaugh said.
"Joe can throw the football. He's a big, strong quarterback. He's moving much better than he was [in] '15, well '16 after the injury, and even '17. Joe's ready to roll. You protect Joe, you give him some weapons out there, you're going to see one of the best quarterbacks in the league."
The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote yesterday, "Will anybody be buying what the Ravens are selling?"
"[There are] numerous challenges in a landscape where few teams are looking for a veteran stopgap quarterback, and those that are may have legitimate concerns about Flacco's recent injuries and inconsistency, and his high 2019 salary," Zrebiec wrote.
"Teams also know that if the Ravens can't find a trade partner, they'll almost certainly release Flacco, who would then be available for any team to sign at likely a reduced salary."
Flacco has three years and $63 million left on the contract he signed in 2016. He would have a salary of $18.5 million next year. That, according to Spotrac, would rank him 8th in the NFL next year, just behind Miami's Ryan Tannehill and just above Denver's Case Keenum.
History would suggest that the Ravens could get a deal done.
Last year, the Washington Redskins sent cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick to the Chiefs for quarterback Alex Smith. A couple months later, the Browns traded a third-round pick to the Bills for Tyrod Taylor. In August, the Jets dealt Teddy Bridgewater to the Saints for a third-round pick.
In 2016, the Eagles traded Sam Bradford (who had a lot … and more concerning … injury history) to the Vikings for a 2017 first-round pick and 2018 fourth-round pick.
This year, the quarterback market is slim. The Eagles' Nick Foles leads the group, but the other top options are Bridgewater, Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown. Flacco has a lot more accomplishments on his resume than all of them.
So can the Ravens pull off a similar move to those of past years? It seems there's a disagreement with "football" guys and former front office guys.
Zrebiec talked to few people with a better idea: former general manager turned NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly, former agent turned CBS Sports contract and salary cap analyst Joel Corry, former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick and former quarterback turned CBS Sports broadcaster Rich Gannon.
"At the end of the day, if I was picking what would happen, I would say that he will be released," Casserly said. "I have a hard time believing somebody is going to trade for that contract with the uncertainty of Joe this late in his career."
"You have to take on the $18.5 million to make the trade, unless the Ravens are willing to eat more salary to facilitate a trade," Corry added. "You're going to have to really want to get rid of the guy and get a draft pick to start eating salary."
Billick and Gannon, however, are on the other side.
"Now, the clock is ticking, but he's still a young man," Billick said. "Not to put him in this category certainly, but you look up and see Drew Brees at 40, Tom Brady at 41, and Philip Rivers at 37. And how old is (Ben) Roethlisberger, almost 37? Yeah, Joe has a lot of productive years left."
"I think you look at his arm talent and there's a lot of qualities that he has that would be attractive to another team," Gannon said, "I can tell you, doing the games each year, as we go to different cities, there's a lot of teams that don't have a quarterback that are looking for one. Certainly, I would think he'd be at the top of the list of available quarterbacks when it comes time for free agency."
The CBS Sports Super Bowl Live crew debated whether adding Flacco could make a team a playoff contender next year.
"He absolutely can make a team a playoff contender," said former linebacker London Fletcher. "It would have to be the right team. Think the Jacksonville Jaguars – strong defense, play-action pass, running game is strong. He can make them a playoff contender."
Fletcher also named his former team, the Redskins, as a landing spot after Smith's injury, which looks like it will reportedly sideline him for all of 2019.
"Not only can he [be a playoff contender], he has," added former Raiders CEO Amy Trask. "He was a Super Bowl MVP."
Flacco's value will be in the eye of the beholder. But remember, it only takes one team and the right situation to make a fit. Zrebiec wrote that it woujld be a "coup" to get a third-round pick. Casserly and Corry predicted a Day Three pick would probably be the best the Ravens could do.
The Ravens can't trade Flacco until free agency opens on March 13, and Ravens Wire's Matthew Stevens writes that Baltimore shouldn't be in any big rush. Waiting until after the draft when teams are more desperate could yield a better return.
"There's no telling what Flacco's worth," Stevens wrote. "To a team that's hungry for a former Super Bowl MVP to get it over the hump and to potentially save a coach's job, Flacco could be easily worth a first-round pick. If teams only see him as a stopgap solution for 2019, he'll likely be worth a late-round selection."
Celebrating the Anniversary of Ravens' Super Bowl XXXV Title
As we all await Super Bowl LIII, it's fun to look back at Baltimore's previous Super Bowl wins.
Yesterday was the 18-year anniversary of the Ravens' first championship in Super Bowl XXXV, a dominant 34-7 win over the New York Giants in Tampa Bay.
NBC Sports' Lisa Redmond put together "11 things you forgot existed" 18 years ago when the Ravens pulled off that triumph. Here are a few of my favorites:
President: George W. Bush
Super Bowl Halftime Show:Aerosmith, NSYNC, Britney Spears, Nelly, Mary J. Blige
No. 1 Song on the Billboard Hot 100: 'Independent Women Part I' by Destiny's Child
TV Shows That Made Their Debut: Scrubs, 24, Degrassi, The Fairly OddParents, The Amazing Race, Lizzie McGuire, The Bernie Mac Show
Best Motion Picture:Gladiator
Not everybody appreciated that Super Bowl (or its halftime show), however. NFL Media's Elliott Harrison ranked all 52 Super Bowls, and Super Bowl XXXV came in at No. 44.
"Perhaps my least favorite Super Bowl, made worse by Steven Tyler doing a halftime show with Britney Spears," Harrison wrote.
"This game was saved, at least from an entertainment standpoint, when three touchdowns were scored on three straight plays: The Baltimore Ravens scored a touchdown, the New York Giants' Ron Dixon brought the kickoff all the way back, and then Ravens kick returner Jermaine Lewis answered. Without that string of football magic dust, this dud would have been even lower on this list."
I guess Harrison really doesn't like watching dominant defense. The Ravens are still the only team to not give up a defensive touchdown in Super Bowl history and nearly pitched a shutout.
Baltimore's Super Bowl XLVII win came in at No. 16 on Harrison's list.
"Super Bowl XLVII makes it into the top  by virtue of having one of the most exciting second halves ever," he wrote. "The final stretch was spectacular, and it included a little controversy on that late four-down stop. (Was Michael Crabtree interfered with, or was it a good no-call?)
- By the way, Flacco still has the most road playoff wins in NFL history with seven.