JLC: Lamar Jackson Will Play Week 1

Joe Flacco won't be a Raven in 2019, Jason La Canfora says

Tiki and Tierney
May 01, 2018 - 5:24 pm

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Since winning the Super Bowl in February 2013, the Baltimore Ravens haven’t won a single playoff game. Not one. In fact, they’ve missed the playoffs in four of the last five seasons, as Joe Flacco continues to post pedestrian numbers.

That might be why the Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson with a first-round pick last Thursday.

“This was always going to be the flash point,” CBS Sports senior NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on Tiki and Tierney. “He got the massive contract after the Super Bowl, and it was basically a three-year deal with an inflection point where if you want to get rid of him, you’re going to eat a whole bunch of cap to do it – and they weren’t going to do that. So they reworked the deal and that basically pushed it down the road another three years. Well, we’re now two years into that three-year period, and the offense has been inept at best. (Flacco) has been in decline, and he hasn’t been healthy and they haven’t put much around him.”

The Ravens, who went 9-7 last year, were in playoff contention until the final week of the season – and fans still lost interest in the team.

“I live in this town, and you couldn’t give away a Ravens ticket,” La Canfora said. “‘I don’t want to sit in the snow. Let me send out an email chain to see if anybody wants to take them off me for face value or less than face value – or for nothing.’ You couldn’t give them away. . . . Flacco wasn’t going to be back in 2019 – even if they waited to the fifth round to draft a quarterback we had never heard of, but this absolutely cements it.”

Flacco, though, shouldn’t worry about 2019. He should worry about 2018.

“Lamar Jackson is going to be on the field Week 1,” La Canfora said. “Maybe it’s three plays, maybe it’s eight plays. He’s going to be on the field Week 5, and maybe it’s 10 plays and maybe it’s 15 plays, depending on how the offense goes. I don’t think they’re going to throw him into the deep end too soon, but they will create packages for him immediately.”

Tiki Barber asked if John Harbaugh, who has coached the Ravens since 2008, is on the hot seat.

“Oh, he’s certainly on the hot seat,” La Canfora said. “Everybody in this organization is on the hot seat. There’s no doubt about it.”

Keep in mind that the Ravens’ offensive coordinator is Marty Mornhinweg, who was Michael Vick’s OC in Philadelphia, and the assistant head coach and tight end coach is Greg Roman, who was Colin Kaepernick’s OC in San Francisco.

In other words, Jackson could succeed in Baltimore.

“This guy is an athletic freak,” La Canfora said. “He comes in immediately and he's the best athlete on the team. I think he’d be the best athlete on several NFL teams. If I’m Jim Harbaugh, I’d love to get an extension because it’s a bit of a project, but the reality is the team’s probably not going to be that great – and the schedule is tough. But if Lamar Jackson, from Week 1 to Week 17 is evolving and developing, then I think that will be a big selling point for ownership at that point.”

La Canfora also weighed in on Tom Brady, who said, “I plead the fifth,” when asked if the Patriots have shown him the respect and appreciation he deserves.

Brady, the reigning NFL MVP, is slated to earn $14 million in base salary over the next two seasons.

“He just saw his understudy go to San Francisco, win four straight games and get $60 million guaranteed,” La Canfora said, referring to Jimmy Garoppolo. Tom’s always willing to do the right thing, but what do I think this is? I think it’s Bob Kraft: ‘I don’t really think we have a Brady contract problem.’ Oh, really? He’s got two years left, he’s the reigning MVP, he’s shown no signs of slowing down, yo’ve got no security net behind him, you traded away his No. 1 or No. 2 receiver, he lost his left tackle, he lost a couple running backs, he lost his slot guy in Amendola – and what are the odds that Gronk is mostly healthy two years in a row? 

“You’re asking him to do more with less arguably than ever,” La Canfora continued. “Look at the market. Kirk Cousins just gets $90 million guaranteed. The quarterback market has shifted dramatically, and he did you a (favor) three years ago. Nick Foles just got a couple million dollars handed to him. Come on, now. If you want Tommy to be happy as can be and you’re asking him to do another Herculean task – now at age 41 – pay the man.”