Lamar Jackson Officially Named Ravens Starting QB After Joe Flacco Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2018

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, second from left, talks with quarterback Joe Flacco, second from right, during an NFL football training camp practice at the team's headquarters, Tuesday, July 24, 2018, in Owings Mills, Md. Also pictured from left are quarterback Lamar Jackson, quarterbacks coach James Urban and quarterback Josh Woodrum. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

The Lamar Jackson era has begun in Baltimore.

The Baltimore Ravens announced that Jackson would be the team's starting quarterback in Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals with Joe Flacco out injured. 

Jackson, 21, was selected with the No. 32 overall pick in this year's NFL draft, which called into question Baltimore's commitment to Flacco. The Ravens averaged just 189 passing yards per game in 2017, 29th in the NFL, and the team's 20 passing touchdowns were tied for 23rd in the NFL.

Flacco did not play well, throwing for 3,141 yards, 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while completing 64.1 percent of his passes.

Nonetheless, Flacco was the starter heading into the season, with Jackson expected to see some time given his immense playmaking ability.

"I sure like him out there helping us," head coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson in June, per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. "If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

He added: "Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball. It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."

While Jackson gave the Ravens some fun options to play with alongside Flacco, the long-term plan was to develop him into a franchise quarterback. It would appear as though that plan could be expedited if Jackson shines in relief.

It could also also leave Flacco's future in Baltimore uncertain. Cutting him after the 2018 season would take his $18.5 million base salary off the books and save the team $8 million in cap space in 2019, though the team would still owe him $16 million in signing bonuses, per Spotrac. Depending on when he was either cut or traded, that money could be split over two seasons.

Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported Jackson's success could spell Flacco's end in Baltimore, as well: 


"If Lamar does well... Joe Flacco's days in Baltimore could be over." @JayGlazer on what Lamar Jackson's start today could mean for his future https://t.co/QISltHa0i3

In other words, if Jackson's performance Sunday convinces the Ravens he is both the future and present of the organization, the team would have a financial incentive to end the Flacco era. Based on Jackson's move ahead of him on the depth chart, it appears Flacco's days are numbered.