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Offseason positional preview: Quarterback

Wild Card Round - San Diego Chargers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Ravens are now entering an offseason in which Ozzie Newsome will not be in charge of the front office for the first time in a very long time. How much things will actually change does remain a question though; Eric DeCosta has been in the pipeline to take over his position for the past five years and it’s reasonable to wonder if he’ll bring a pretty similar team building gameplan to the table.

The fact is that DeCosta had been Newsome’s right hand man for a good amount of the latter’s two decade tenure. Conventional wisdom may dictate that he’ll simply follow Ozzie’s way of doing things, though there’s no way to tell until the new league year begins and he can really start to make his mark on the franchise that’s been grooming him to do so.

Even in that light, it may be difficult to project how he’ll handle the most important position in all of sports (quarterback) for a franchise that hasn’t seen it be in flux like this for a decade plus. It never hurts to predict though, so let’s take a look at how it may shake out below:

Current Depth Chart

  • Lamar Jackson: 2019 cap hit = $2,152,646
  • Joe Flacco: 2019 cap hit = $26,500,000
  • Robert Griffin III: Unrestricted Free Agent

Offseason outlook:

Despite an overall rough playoff outing against the Chargers, Jackson is the unquestioned guy moving forward, something John Harbaugh was quick to confirm after the loss. Another thing Harbaugh addressed is the $26 million elephant in the quarterback room.

That would of course be the status of Joe Flacco as a Raven, something the coach (who is currently in contract negotiations of his own) confirmed has run it’s course:

“Joe Flacco is going to play really well in this league,” Harbaugh said. “Joe can still play, and I think we saw that, first half of the season. Joe is going to have a market. A lot of teams are going to want Joe. I’ll be in Joe’s corner, wherever he’s at, unless we play him.”

As rough as Lamar looked at times against L.A., this is the pretty obvious scenario we’ve all known was going to play out for upwards of at least a month, especially when the rookie was in the midst of his 6-1 tear. The question then becomes, what will actually happen with Flacco?

The 12-year vet just turned 34 and has a complicated history of injuries and poor play over the last few years. In that sense, the question isn’t whether he’ll have a market; it’s what kind of market are we actually talking about?

We could start by looking at potential landing spots. The former Super Bowl MVP has been linked with a few teams already, namely, Denver, Miami, Jacksonville and the New York Giants.

From his perspective Jacksonville makes a ton of sense as Blake Bortles is all but confirmed to be on his way out and the roster is ready made for a deep run on paper. The other spots all work for varying reasons, with Denver and the Giants making sense due to their reputations as historic franchises.

The question is will the Broncos fully hand over the keys to Flacco with Case Keenum still possibly in the picture, and are the Giants finally ready to move on from Eli Manning? The Dolphins make sense if they’re cutting bait on Ryan Tannehill as has been reported, though with the franchise and it’s front office in a nebulous position, it’s fair to wonder if the attraction would be mutual.

Ultimately it seems that Flacco will have some say in his destination which could hurt Baltimore in terms of trade negotiations should they pursue that route. The only real question from the franchise’s perspective is what can they get for him in that scenario?

Alex Smith, who had played well in his five years in Kansas City, netted a third round pick and a good player in Kendall Fuller from Washington. At this point, Baltimore would likely be thrilled with a 3rd rounder for a player they’ve already confirmed is on his way out.

Regardless of how all of that plays out, Baltimore is in a desirable position quarterback wise moving forward. They have a young cost controlled starter for the next four years who has shown an ability to win games in this league; with Flacco coming off the books freeing upwards of $10 million dollars in cap space (including other roster moves likely to be made) DeCosta will have plenty of resources to build around Lamar.

The final remaining question is who will be his backup next season? RGIII was an unexpected training camp to final roster holdover and stayed with the team throughout the entire season.

It’s possible they did this in order to establish the continuity with Griffin in order to re-sign him to backup Lamar, which seemed to have the desired effect. Based on everything Griffin has said, he seems happy in Baltimore and would logistically be the right choice to be the no. 2 QB next year.

His cap hit for this past season hovered just over a million which is perfectly fine for a quality backup, and for a guy who had been out of football for an entire year prior to 2018, it’s conceivable he’d be more than happy to accept the reliever role on a likely higher salary. We’ll see what happens with Griffin, but don’t ultimately be surprised if he’s not an unrestricted free agent for much longer.

How do you expect all of this to shake out? Let us know in the comments down below.