The New York Jets’ decision to sign veteran quarterback Joe Flacco to a reported one-year contract with incentives makes a lot of sense, but it also comes with some risk.
The signing, which first was reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, is for one year and $1.5 million, with undisclosed incentives that could be worth up to $3 million more.
But there is a reason why the former Baltimore star was still on the market in late May. His lone season in Denver was cut short after eight games because of a neck injury that landed him on injured reserve. He was cut by the Broncos in March with a failed-physical designation and reportedly underwent neck surgery in April, which will put him on the shelf until approximately Sept. 1.
Granted, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it’s unclear if the NFL’s planned opening Sunday will take place on Sept. 13. But if it does, that would give Flacco precious little time to be ready in case he did have to step in and relieve an injured or ill Sam Darnold. Thus, Flacco and the Jets actually might be helped if the season doesn’t start quite on time.
If it does, Flacco will be faced with the challenge of mostly learning a whole new offense—he has never played in an Adam Gase system before—with mental reps rather than physical snaps on the field. Granted, Flacco is a veteran entering his 13th NFL season, so he has seen a lot and it should not take him as long to catch on as it would a raw youngster, but it is a concern.
Thus, it makes sense that the Jets re-signed Gase favorite David Fales earlier in the off-season to help them get through training camp and the preseason. The journeyman likely will have to stick around as Darnold’s backup until Flacco can get on the field and show he is physically and mentally able to function in Gase’s offense.
Flacco’s career as a Raven came to an end when he was replaced by 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson down the stretch of the 2018 campaign. He then signed with the Broncos, but went only 2-6 with six touchdown passes and five interceptions before the neck problem ended his season. For his career, he has 218 TD passes and 141 picks in 171 games, all starts, so a backup and mentor role will be something new for Flacco, a native of southern New Jersey.
He has a connection with general manager Joe Douglas, a Baltimore scout when the Ravens picked Flacco in the first round of the NFL Draft in 2008. The Jets were 0-3 in both 2018 and 2019 when Darnold did not start.
Source: Forbes Business