I’m back, and Ravens fans aren’t going to like me for this one.
I just don’t get it. I really don’t. I don’t usually like to take down athletes because I know that I could never be doing what they are doing on the field each week, but this one continues to be mind-boggling to me.
Joe Flacco continues to get paid among the top-five quarterbacks in the league and I really cannot figure out why. He enters the 2016 season as the highest-paid quarterback on average per season at over $22 million a year, having just signed a contract extension this offseason.
Yes, I know he made that incredible run during the 2012 playoffs to win the Super Bowl. And I know he always makes it to the playoffs, but is that really because of Flacco?
I don’t think Joe Flacco is a bad quarterback. I just don’t think is very good either. He is just kind of average with help from some great running games and defenses.
For starters, Flacco has never thrown for 4,000 yards in a single season. He came very close in his last full season, 2014, where he came up just 14 yards shy of the 4,000 mark. Looking at that season though, there were 11 quarterbacks that did hit the 4,000 yard plateau. Throwing for at least 4,000 yards is common place in the league now and Flacco failing to hit that mark is not a result of him not throwing the ball enough. A better indicator of his struggles is lackluster yard per attempt average. He only finished 13th among quarterbacks that threw at least 400 passes in 2014 and for his career has an average under seven. If he cannot hit these benchmarks, then it is hard to justify paying him more than any other quarterback in the league.
Flacco doesn’t throw many touchdowns either. In fact, only twice in his career has the Delaware product thrown for 25 or more in a single season. He has never hit 30 either, with his career-high sitting at 27. In an age where quarterbacks regularly throw 30-plus touchdowns in a given season, Flacco’s numbers once again come across as average at best.
His lack of scores is not because he is an overly cautious player either. Flacco has thrown double digit interceptions in each of his eight NFL seasons. That includes 22 in the 2013 season and 12 during his injury-shortened 2015 campaign, where he only played 10 games. His completion percentage leaves a lot to be desired as well. Flacco completes roughly 61 percent of his passes, a pretty typical figure for middle of the road quarterbacks in the NFL.
It’s not like Flacco can complain about being constantly under pressure or knocked around either. He had a rough year in 2013, taking 48 sacks, but over the course of his last 26 games (the 2014 and 2015 seasons) Flacco has only been sacked 37 times. For some reference, there were 10 NFL quarterbacks sacked more than that in just 2015 alone.
Baltimore has always been good about giving its quarterback tons of help too. During his first four seasons in the NFL, Flacco had a top 10 scoring and yardage defense to rely on, often with that group ranking in the top three. He also can’t carry the team on his own. 2013 was Flacco’s worst statistical season and it was the only one where he played the whole year and did not have a ground game that ranked in the top half of the league.
On top of all of this is the fact that Flacco is coming off a torn ACL and MCL. That is a major knee injury at the age of 31 for a team to decide to invest in him long term. The Ravens have him locked up until 2022 despite the injury concerns.
Breaking Flacco down even further, over the course of his career, he has thrown for about 232 yards per game, while averaging about 1.4 touchdowns and 0.86 interceptions per game. Those numbers are very comparable to Ryan Tannehill, whom many view as the definition of an average quarterback. NFL franchises seem more than willing nowadays to pay top dollar for average quarterback play.
Joe Flacco has had a ton of success, including a Super Bowl ring. No one can take that away from him. However, he does not deserve to be one of the top paid players in the world of professional sports. If you ask me, he is just an average Joe.