Following Sunday's 23-17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC Wild Card game, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh addressed that the team will be moving on from veteran quarterback Joe Flacco.
Rookie Lamar Jackson took over as the starter mid-season and helped the Ravens win the AFC North for the first time in six years. Flacco, who turns 34 in January, was sidelined with a hip injury for a handful of games. Jackson never relinquished the starting job, so Flacco's final weeks as a Raven strictly involved him taking a seat on the bench.
Though Harbaugh acknowledged this was Flacco's final season in Baltimore, the 11th-year head coach believes there will be a big market for the Super Bowl XLVII champion and MVP.
"Joe Flacco is going to do really well in this league. Joe can still play," Harbaugh said, via Kevin Patra of NFL.com. "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 going to do just fine."
Per Patra, the Ravens would save $10.5 million in cap space by releasing Flacco, taking a $16 million cap hit in the process. It's a hefty price, but it doesn't make sense to keep a backup quarterback with such a high salary for three more years. This is now Jackson's team, and Flacco certainly knows that.
Harbaugh also acknowledged that he and Flacco will keep in touch and he believes they'll "always be friends." But in the NFL, it comes down to business. The Ravens have a younger and more skilled quarterback to build round. Moving on from a franchise great like Flacco isn't easy, but its also a no-brainer for the organization.
What This Means
There certainly will be a market for one of the game's all-time great clutch performers. Flacco is 10-5 in the postseason throughout his career, including three trips to the AFC Championship Game and one Super Bowl title.
Teams like the Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants could be in search of a new quarterback. Thus, Flacco won't have to wait long to find his new starting gig.