While the Baltimore Ravens are not in the playoffs this year—for the second straight seasons, and the first two seasons under current head coach John Harbaugh—there is still plenty for them to do. They are one of now 28 teams who are already in their offseason period, signing player to futures contracts and whatnot, preparing for the draft and free agency.
According to longtime general manager Ozzie Newsome, one of their top priorities this season is going to be searching for a new quarterback. Yes, you read that correctly. The Ravens are in the market to acquire a new quarterback for the 2017 season.
You see, they are looking for a new backup quarterback to former Pro Bowler and Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, who prior to last season’s ACL injury never missed a game in his professional career. The Ravens have self-admittedly been luckily on the health front with their starting quarterback position, and the past two years have been a sort of eye-opener for them it seems.
“You have to have two quality quarterbacks in this league to be successful year-in and year-out”, Newsome recently told reporters, according to the team’s website, during his end-of-season press conference. “We realize that Joe is one play away from being injured. We have seen that”.
He also related his experiences of watching the Wildcard weekend, where he saw two teams with backup quarterbacks meekly go down, specifically the Dolphins, whom the Steelers defeated 30-12, and the Raiders, who were actually down to their third-string quarterback, a rookie making his first start.
“You saw over the weekend what happens to teams when the number one quarterback gets hurt”, he said, “and you are trying to win a playoff game”. And they know that Flacco is not getting any younger, nor his body any less prone to injury.
Now, you might be thinking, don’t they have Ryan Mallett? The Ravens traded for him during the 2015 season—and he ended up starting against the Steeler and embarrassing them in one of the worst losses Pittsburgh has been dealt in recent years—but he is scheduled to hit free agency.
Newsome’s comments don’t exactly strike me as somebody who is really eager to re-up with Mallett, either, though I could be wrong. Either way, it sounds like they are looking into having a better Plan B at the quarterback position than they have had recently.
While the Ravens had quite a bit of trouble over the course of the 2015 season, during which they won just five games and had a top-10 draft pick, their season really fell off a cliff when Flacco was injured. Baltimore now knows firsthand what it’s like to have to try to play without your franchise quarterback, especially a franchise quarterback who is paid like one.