The Baltimore Ravens will be without quarterback Joe Flacco (hip) for the first time this season. Flacco will be replaced by rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, who will make his first career start in the NFL.
Prior to Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Flacco was reportedly seen using crutches to walk and then walked around on an ailing hip without a limp in latter days. The 33-year old didn’t practice for the entire week, with Jackson and Robert Griffin III trading snaps on Monday.
Jackson would then come down with a stomach illness on Thursday and was sent to the hospital. Baltimore had Griffin III practicing that day though they would see Jackson return on Friday to join him.
Reportedly, Jackson will see the majority of the snaps against the Bengals and Griffin III will get playing time as well. The Ravens could utilize Griffin III in the same way that Jackson was used just weeks ago against Pittsburgh – lined out at wide receiver and at quarterback occasionally.
As for Flacco, he could’ve possibly made his last start for Baltimore in their loss against the Steelers. Flacco has been the Ravens’ unquestioned starter at quarterback when healthy for the past 10 seasons. With Baltimore trading back into the first round to select Jackson in this year’s NFL Draft, it was expected that Flacco’s time in Baltimore was nearing its end.
If Jackson were to have a good game against the Bengals, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Ravens stick with him at quarterback. With Flacco’s contract situation, he could either be a cap casualty after June 1, 2019. Baltimore would then generate $16 million in dead cap space if they came from under his contract.
In 11 seasons with the Ravens, Flacco has played in 163 games going 3,499-for-5,670 (61.7% completion percentage) with 38,245 yards, 212 touchdowns and 136 interceptions. Flacco is Baltimore’s franchise passing leader in completions, yards, touchdowns and passer rating (84.1).
Potential teams that could look to acquire Flacco’s services after the season could be the Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants.