The trouble is, so does the rest of the NFL. Why send an asset to Baltimore to secure a trade when he might hit the open market as a free agent?
Eric DeCosta is not worried. The Ravens general manager said at his introductory news conference Wednesday that “all it takes is one team” to create a trade market for Flacco, who’s owed $18.5 million next season and was benched in favor of rookie Lamar Jackson after a midseason hip injury.
“You know what? It’s like playing chess,” DeCosta said. “You need different options. … If there’s one team interested, yeah, we’ll probably trade him. If there’s nobody interested, we’ll have to make another decision.”
If the Ravens cut or trade Flacco outright, they would incur a dead-money charge of $16 million and save $8 million. If Flacco is designated as a post-June 1 cut, their savings would be greater — $18.5 million total, with just $8 million in dead money — but delayed until three months after the league year and free agency begins.
With a mix of inexperienced and still-developing quarterbacks dotting the first round of mock drafts, and the vital importance of the position in the modern NFL, Flacco could be attractive in a free-agent quarterback class headlined by the Philadelphia Eagles’ Nick Foles.
“I will say this: This league craves quarterbacks,” DeCosta said. “And Joe Flacco has won a lot of games. He’s one of the best pure passers in probably the NFL. He’s won a lot of games. And every year, coaches and GMs get fired because they don’t have a good quarterback. So we’ll just see how it all shakes out.”
He added: “I think that when the time comes for us to make a decision, one way or another, we’ll have a plan in place.”