In Joe Flacco, Jets Get a Credible Backup for Sam Darnold

Written by on May 23, 2020

The Jets are hoping that their most outstanding addition this low season — a former most respected participant of the Tremendous Bowl — by no means takes a snap for them. Such is the plight of a backup quarterback, and that’s the new position for the veteran Joe Flacco, who agreed to a one-year deal on Friday as he recovers from neck surgical procedure.

If having a dependable understudy at soccer’s most necessary job can protect a season — simply ask New Orleans, which gained all 5 video games final 12 months behind Teddy Bridgewater after Drew Brees’s damage, or Philadelphia, which won a championship with Nick Foles — then undervaluing that place can derail it.

The Jets endured this actuality final season, once they misplaced all three video games whereas their starter, Sam Darnold, was out with mononucleosis, and fell to 0-4. They then resolved to accumulate a reputable backup and thought of the previous Cincinnati starter Andy Dalton — he finally signed with Dallas — earlier than specializing in Flacco, the longtime Baltimore Raven who performed eight video games final season for Denver till sustaining a season-ending neck damage.

His agent, Joe Linta, mentioned on Saturday that Flacco’s rehabilitation from neck surgical procedure in April goes properly and that if he continues recovering at his present price, Flacco can count on to hitch the crew for coaching camp in early August and must be cleared for contact no later than mid-September. Linta mentioned that Flacco has already been examined by a Jets orthopedist.

“He can do every thing besides hit any individual or log on,” Linta mentioned in a phone interview.

The monetary phrases of the deal — $1.5 million, with about one other $three million in incentives, Linta mentioned — are a pittance relative to Flacco’s potential worth. They evoke the contract signed by Jameis Winston, who, unable to find a starting job, joined New Orleans for $1.1 million, in an effort to revive his profession after main the league in interceptions. In contrast to Winston, who at 26 would possibly be capable to parlay this sojourn into abiding stability, Flacco, 35, is confronting the chance that he gained’t enter a season as a starter once more. Lamar Jackson’s emergence within the second half of the Ravens’ 2018 season, after Flacco sustained a season-ending hip damage, made him expendable, and Baltimore traded him to Denver in March 2019.

Flacco provides rapid cachet and credibility to an inexperienced place group that, past Darnold, has three quarterbacks — Mike White, David Fales and the unsigned fourth-round choose James Morgan — who’ve mixed to throw 48 N.F.L. passes, all by Fales. Staying near dwelling appealed to Flacco, a local of Audubon, N.J., as did the chance to reunite with Jets Basic Supervisor Joe Douglas, who was a Ravens scout in 2008 when Baltimore drafted Flacco with the 18th general choose.

These Ravens groups have been powered by stingy defenses and powerful working video games, and Flacco, stabilizing a place lengthy unmoored in Baltimore, steered the Ravens to playoff berths in his first 5 seasons, together with three journeys to the A.F.C. championship sport. However within the playoffs after the 2012 season, Baltimore blasted via the A.F.C. bracket on the power of Flacco’s arm en path to successful Tremendous Bowl 47 towards San Francisco. Flacco threw 11 touchdowns with out an interception within the Ravens’ stirring playoff run.

Although Flacco has performed in however two playoff video games since that Tremendous Bowl victory, that’s nonetheless two greater than the Jets have over that span. Their lack of ability to establish, and develop, franchise quarterbacks has contributed to their malaise, however the Jets consider they’ve a long-term starter in Darnold. Nonetheless, it’s maybe inevitable that he’ll get damage. Darnold has missed six video games in two seasons, and the Jets have misplaced all six. However he’s hardly the exception: Final season, according to Pro Football Reference, 19 of the N.F.L.’s 32 groups began a backup at quarterback in a minimum of one sport.

The Jets, after years of mismanagement, are once more searching for to construct a contender, a job that appears extra doable now that Tom Brady, their longtime nemesis, has left the A.F.C. East. Douglas overhauled the offensive line and receiving corps, signing Breshad Perriman and drafting Denzel Mims within the second spherical. These strikes determine to assist whomever is enjoying quarterback for them this season — be it Darnold, as deliberate, or Flacco, who supplies a comforting presence, whether or not he ever takes a snap or not.

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