John Harbaugh: Joe Flacco is 'going to have a market'


The Baltimore Ravens are Lamar Jackson's team.

The truth of the matter was clear even before coach John Harbaugh stuck with the rookie quarterback despite overwhelming struggles early in the Ravens' 23-17 playoff loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Before a raging comeback bid fell short, Jackson led the Ravens to -2 total passing yards on Baltimore's first 10 possessions of the game.

After storming back into the game, Harbaugh stated the obvious after the loss.

"Lamar is our quarterback moving forward, there's no question about that," the coach said Sunday.

Harbaugh also made it clear the team plans to move on from Joe Flacco.

"Joe Flacco is going to do really well in this league. Joe can still play," he said. "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 has three years remaining on his contract. Baltimore would take a $16 million cap hit and save $10.5 million by jettisoning the quarterback.

Flacco started nine games this season before suffering a hip injury and being replaced by Jackson. He completed 61.2 percent of his passes (lowest since 2013), for 6.5 yards per attempt, 12 touchdowns, and six interceptions. Baltimore was 4-5 with Flacco as the starter this season, and 6-1 under Jackson.

In 11 seasons in Baltimore, Flacco helped the Ravens to seven playoff appearances. His 2012 playoff run, leading Baltimore to a Super Bowl win that garnered the signal-caller the Super Bowl MVP, remains one of the hottest QB streaks this millennium.

"I'm probably not going to miss him personally because I'm still going to keep in touch with him I'm sure. I'm sure we'll always be friends," Harbaugh said of Flacco. "It's been great. It's been a chapter with Joe. It's been a chapter in our life as well for me and my wife ... Like I told the guys here, every ending is a beginning so that's where we go from here. There are no endings, only beginnings so we'll see where it takes us."

Turning 34 in 10 days, Flacco should have a market for teams looking for a veteran or bridge quarterback. Teams like the Jaguars, Dolphins or Redskins could be in the market for a low-upside veteran signal-caller to get them through the next couple of seasons.

Flacco still has enough talent to be an NFL starter when healthy. Teams also love bringing in known veteran quantities, even if the upside isn't high. However, mediocre play the past several seasons coupled with missing games due to several injuries should give teams pause to give him much guaranteed money. Ultimately, Flacco's market will depend on how many teams believe he can be a substantial upgrade.