The early front-runners as Ravens put Joe Flacco on trade block

At least Joe Flacco will be fresh wherever he plays next year.

After the quarterback sat and watched as rookie Lamar Jackson and the Ravens let a playoff game against the Chargers slip away Sunday in a 23-17 loss, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh essentially put Flacco up for sale.

“Joe Flacco is going to play really well in this league. Joe can still play — I think we saw that the first half of the season,” Harbaugh told reporters. “Joe’s going to have a market. There’s going to be a lot of teams that are going to want Joe because they understand that. I’ll be in Joe’s corner wherever he’s at. He’s special. Joe Flacco is a great talent; he’s an even better person. He’s the best quarterback in the history of the Ravens without question. … He’s going to do just fine.”

Flacco, in his 11th season in the NFL, started the first nine games of the year before a hip injury sidelined him. It opened the door for Jackson, who took over and sparked the Ravens to win six of their final eight games of the season. Even when Flacco got healthy, it was Jackson’s show.

Fans clamored for Flacco to enter the game Sunday, with Jackson struggling, but Harbaugh stuck with the former Heisman Trophy winner and it nearly paid off with a late comeback. After the game, he reaffirmed the team’s quarterback plans for the future.

“Lamar is our quarterback moving forward, there’s no question about that,” Harbaugh said.

Flacco has three years left on his deal and could be attractive to the numerous teams looking for a quarterback, with the Jaguars believed to be an early front-runner. The nearby Redskins, with Alex Smith’s future in doubt, also would figure to be a player. Perhaps the Broncos could see Flacco as enough of an upgrade over Case Keenum.

He has cap hits of $26.5 million in 2019, $28.25 million in 2020 and $24.25 million in 2021. But the Ravens could also cut him this offseason if no team will bite on that contract, which would come with $16 million of dead cap, saving them $10.5 million.

The 33-year-old, who led the Ravens to a win in Super Bowl XLVII, said he was unsure of his own future.

“It’s not really up to me, so we’ll see what happens,” Flacco said. “To be honest, I can’t imagine a better 11 years. This place becoming my home and my children’s home. Definitely a group of fans and a community that I loved to be around for 11 years.”

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