How is Joe Flacco getting a job before Cam Newton?
The New York Jets signed Joe Flacco to a one-year contract worth up to $1.5 million to be the backup quarterback to Sam Darnold that can reach $4.5 million with incentives. The former Super Bowl MVP inked to a deal before 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton in a turn of events few would have envisaged when both were released earlier in the offseason.
Flacco never came close to rediscovering the kind of performances he produced during the Baltimore Ravens’ remarkable run to Super Bowl 47 during his sole year with the Denver Broncos.
In truth, Flacco has been a shadow of that player for a long time. He is an injury-prone and immobile signal-caller whose skill set does not fit where the game is going and has had consistent problems avoiding pressure and taking care of the football.
That makes it all the more surprising that he has a new job while Newton remains the last quarterback domino to fall on the market. There are significant concerns over Newton’s health, with the 2011 No. 1 pick coming off a season where he was limited to just two games for the Carolina Panthers because of a Lisfranc injury.
Newton’s durability may be in question and any team interested in signing him would likely require him to pass a physical. That is difficult to do in a world where the coronavirus has severely restricted what NFL teams can do during the offseason.
However, Flacco — who recently underwent neck surgery — will not elevate those around him if he is forced to come in for Darnold at any point. When healthy, Newton has the ability to do that and his dual-threat skill set makes him a perfect fit for the modern NFL.
Having drafted James Morgan in the fourth round, the Jets already had an insurance policy for Darnold, albeit an inexperienced one. That selection bought the Jets some flexibility and the time to potentially explore ways to gauge Newton’s health.
They didn’t do so and, instead of having a backup who could keep the Jets competitive, they have one who is capable of doing anything but after making what is truly a baffling decision.