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#pounditSaturday, September 18, 2021

Ravens make clear that Joe Flacco is still their starting QB

Joe Flacco

It’s quite fair to be excited to see Lamar Jackson head to the Baltimore Ravens, but it’s also worth keeping those emotions in check, as it sounds like we won’t be seeing him play for a while.

After trading up to pick Jackson at No. 32 on Thursday night, Ravens coach John Harbaugh made clear that veteran Joe Flacco remains the team’s starting quarterback.

“[Jackson’s] a great quarterback. But Joe Flacco is our quarterback,” Harbaugh said, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN. “That’s the thing we got to remember. Lamar is going to have a great chance to develop. When you get to this stage in a quarterback’s career, you’ve seen done in New England and you’ve seen done in a lot of places. This doesn’t really change things in a sense that we’re going to go with Joe and he’s going to roll.”

The conventional wisdom is that Flacco will play the season with the Ravens and then be released, a move that would clear $18.5 million in cap space if done after June 1 of next year. Harbaugh fought back against that narrative as well, comparing the situation to Jimmy Garoppolo in New England.

“You can’t make a lot of assumptions like that,” Harbaugh said. “The Patriots drafted a quarterback and traded him. You take it one year at a time in this league. Predict the future and say what’s going to happen down the road, nobody knows.

“We have a great quarterback in Joe Flacco. There’s no doubt about it. So you want to put as many good football players on your football team as you possibly can. If you get a chance to get a talent like this, I don’t think you can pass it up. It doesn’t say anything other than we got better as a football team.”

Harbaugh has to say this, but let’s be realistic. Flacco has not been great in recent years, is expensive, and just turned 33. The Ravens clearly view Jackson as a quarterback and not some sort of hybrid, and you don’t trade into the first round to stash a former Heisman winner with the intent of eventually flipping him for more picks. Flacco’s days in Baltimore look numbered, and the future belongs to Jackson.

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