After an agonizing two-month wait, Joe Flacco is finally back in business. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (and confirmed by Flacco’s agent), the former Super Bowl MVP will join the Jets on a one-year deal with the 35-year-old presumably serving as Sam Darnold’s backup. Flacco’s wealth of big-game experience makes him an ideal mentor for Darnold, who has struggled with inconsistency throughout his New York tenure.
Flacco spent last season in Denver following an 11-year run with Baltimore. The University of Delaware alum made an indelible impact on the Ravens, finishing as the franchise’s all-time leader in wins (96), touchdown passes (212), completions (3,499) and passing yards (38,245). He hoisted a Lombardi Trophy with Baltimore in 2012, earning Super Bowl MVP honors in the team’s 34-31 victory over Colin Kaepernick and the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers.
The Audubon, New Jersey native has seen his play decline in recent years while succumbing to frequent injuries including a herniated disc that shelved him for much of the 2019 campaign. Flacco underwent a neck procedure last month and may not be ready for the Jets’ opener scheduled for September 13th in Buffalo.
Flacco had hoped to land a starting gig this offseason, but clearly that opportunity never presented itself. The 12-year vet started 122 straight games to begin his Ravens tenure but likely saw the writing on the wall when Baltimore spent a first-round pick on eventual MVP Lamar Jackson in 2018. The 6’6,” 245-pound Flacco encountered a similar situation in Denver (the Broncos acquired him for a fourth-round pick) last season, serving as a bridge to 2019 second-rounder Drew Lock.
Flacco has ties to Jets GM Joe Douglas, who worked as a Ravens scout when the team drafted him 18th overall in 2008. Though undoubtedly on the back nine of his career, Flacco is a more than capable backup when healthy and should be an excellent sounding board for the raw but talented Darnold in East Rutherford. At the very least, the ex-Raven should be a substantial upgrade on the team's previous backup, unheralded Dolphins castoff David Fales.