Joe Flacco

© Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Flacco Enters an Unofficial Contract Year

June 04, 2018 - 2:40 pm

By Tim Barbalace

Joe Flacco is signed through 2021, but if he wants to earn the rest of the remaining money on his deal, he needs to perform at a high level this season.  Flacco is due base salaries of $18.5 million in 2019, $20.25 million in 2020 and $24.25 million in 2021.  If he can perform at the level he played in 2014 (91 passer rating), Flacco has a good shot at finishing out the rest of his deal in Baltimore or elsewhere.

Despite carrying the highest cap hit in the NFL during the 2017 season, Joe Flacco finished 26th in passer rating (80.4), 23rd in passing touchdowns (18) and 21st in passing yards (3,141).  Flacco did miss training camp due to a back injury and had inconsistent performances from his playmakers, but you have to expect more out of a highly compensated quarterback.  Since 2015, he has been on a downward trend going 20-22 with an 82.4 passer rating.  There are, however, reasons for optimism entering 2018.

In the seven games following the Ravens bye week, Flacco led the Ravens to five wins and had ten touchdowns with just three interceptions, which was good for an 89.1 passer rating.  He seemed healthy and in more of a rhythm.  Flacco will be another year removed from his knee surgery in 2015 and will have a brand new complement of weapons at his disposal.

Ozzie Newsome vowed to leave no stones unturned when it came to upgrading the receiving core.  Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead were all brought in during free agency.  All of those wideouts are coming off mediocre seasons, but have track records of success.

The Ravens also drafted Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley in addition to tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.  Baltimore has been consistently criticized, and rightfully so, for not surrounding Joe Flacco with weapons throughout his career.  The same cannot be said about this offseason.

Early reports from OTA's have been positive for Flacco.  He should have the benefit of a full offseason to work with his new targets.  The 11th year QB should be motivated to perform at a high level after the Ravens invested the 32nd overall pick in Lamar Jackson.

This year if Flacco performs at his 2014 season level, the Ravens will either trade him or keep him if the team feels Jackson won't be ready to start.  Another miserable season would ultimately lead to his release, which would trigger $10.5 million in cap savings if he was cut before June 1st.  Flacco will be playing this year with tons of pressure, and it will be fun to see how he responds in the face of adversity.