Jets' Joe Flacco Willing to Mentor Sam Darnold, Still Wants to Be Starting QB

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - OCTOBER 27: Joe Flacco #5 of the Denver Broncos warms up before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 27, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

While he has to settle for being a backup with the New York Jets in 2020, veteran quarterback Joe Flacco still harbors hope of starting in the NFL again.

Flacco told reporters Thursday he's "fully embracing" being a mentor of sorts for Sam Darnold but aspires to more:

Kimberly Jones @KimJonesSports

On #Jets Zoom, Joe Flacco says he still has the “want to” to be a starting QB but is willing mentor to Sam Darnold. JF says he’s “fully embracing it” & is “glad to be on a team playing football in some capacity.” Joe Douglas mattered in this — #Ravens connection.

Dennis Waszak Jr. @DWAZ73

More Flacco: "... But, you know, at this moment, that's not my role. My role is to help the team get better & to help a young quarterback see things as clearly as possible & helping along his journey to being a longtime NFL quarterback." #Jets 2/2

The Denver Broncos released Flacco in March after he failed a physical. Many expected he'd have to settle for a demotion to land with another team.

His 2019 production (1,822 yards, six touchdowns, five interceptions) left something to be desired, and he'll effectively miss the entire offseason after he underwent neck surgery. The Jets—and any other interested suitors—couldn't perform a physical on the 35-year-old because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jets general manager Joe Douglas' connection to Flacco probably alleviated any concerns about signing him despite those question marks. Douglas was a scout for the Baltimore Ravens when the team selected the former Delaware star with the 18th pick in the 2008 draft.

Flacco's desire to start again is understandable. He started 16 games for the Ravens as a rookie and went unchallenged for 10 years before Lamar Jackson's arrival in 2018 raised doubts about his long-term future.

Especially given his age, Flacco likely won't find a situation where he's the clear starting option. His peak wasn't all that high to begin with—zero Pro Bowl appearances—and there might be little separating him from any number of passers teams can find in free agency in a given offseason.

His time in New York could provide teams with an idea of how well he fits as an experienced presence in the locker room who can help develop younger quarterbacks.