Many names have been tossed around as both short- and long-term possibilities to quarterback the New York Giants next season should they move on from Eli Manning. One name that has drawn little attention, yet could be a possibility, is Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens.
Is Flacco, a 33-year-old former Super Bowl MVP, a legitimate option to replace Manning with the Giants?
Flacco lost his job in Baltimore to rookie Lamar Jackson, and he isn’t getting it back. With that in mind, it is believed that the Ravens will move on from Flacco this offseason, and that they are willing to trade him to a team on his short list of preferred locations.
The folks at BetDSI have listed the Giants as one of the most likely landing spots for Flacco in 2019.
Why it would make sense
Whether the Giants draft someone like Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State (if he declares) or Daniel Jones of Duke one thing they are almost certainly not going to do is open the 2019 season with a rookie quarterback as their Week 1 starter. Coach Pat Shurmur has said over and over that experience matters, and when it comes to the quarterback position I believe he means it. Even if the Giants go all-in and select a potential quarterback of the future in Round 1, it seems more likely that they want to follow the path the Kansas City Chiefs did with Patrick Mahomes. Draft him, use a capable veteran for a year while he learns and proves whether he is able to handle the job or not, then turn over the reigns.
That is also what the Giants did back in the day with Kurt Warner holding down the job before Tom Coughlin turned it over to Manning. Because of the emotional attachment to Manning it would probably be easier to put someone like Flacco in the Warner role, and perhaps bench him before the season ended, than it would be with Manning.
Flacco is a Voorhees, N.J. native and — while I don’t know for sure — you would have to think the Giants are a team that would be on his wish list. His play has leveled off in recent years and, like Manning, he doesn’t bring much mobility to the table. He still, however, possesses a big arm and a Super Bowl pedigree and is a guy a young quarterback could learn from.
I have no idea what the asking price for Flacco is or whether a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars might also be interested. Still, Flacco is probably a name worth considering in the “veteran placeholder” category.
Why it wouldn’t work
Manning carries a $23.2 million cap hit for next season. If the Giants cut or trade him they are still on the hook for $6 million in dead money against the salary cap. Flacco carries a $26.5 million cap hit into 2019 and a $28.25 million cap hit in 2020 with an out that would cost whatever team he is playing for $8 million.
The two salaries combined would leave the Giants with $32.5 million in salary cap space tied up in the quarterback position next season — far too much. Jimmy Garappolo of the San Francisco 49ers ($37 million) was the only quarterback who carried a bigger cap hit than that $32.5 million figure in 2018.
The Giants would have to work out an extension or re-structure with Flacco to lower that cap hit and make it palatable.
There is also the fact that Flacco might be walking into another situation like he had in Baltimore this season, with the potential of a young quarterback waiting in the wings to take his job. Would he agree to that scenario?