What does the signing of Joe Flacco mean for Jalen Hurts & the Eagles?

NFL: DEC 20 Jets at Rams
INGLEWOOD, CA – DECEMBER 20: New York Jets Quarterback Joe Flacco (5) warms up during an NFL game between the New York Jets and the Los Angeles Rams on December 20, 2020, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. )

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Eagles are signing free-agent QB Joe Flacco. This comes after a report earlier this week that stated the New Jersey native was headed to Philadelphia on a visit. The two parties appear to have put pen to paper.

What does this mean for the Eagles?

First and foremost, it’s going to be cheap. The one-year deal is set to cost the Eagles around $4M, which is oddly an upgrade to the $1.5M deal he played under last year. For a cap-strapped Eagles team, Flacco’s value falls below that of players like Jacoby Brissett and Tyrod Taylor.

Secondly, there’s his resume. Flacco is now an 11-year veteran who has gone from the highs of being a Super Bowl MVP, to struggling in New York and mentoring younger signal-callers. His years of experience in the NFL are bound to be invaluable for Jalen Hurts, who is of course only entering his second year, but his first full season as a probable starter.

The good news is that this signing does fall directly in line with Jeffrey Lurie’s reported sentiments of not wanting direct competition for Hurts. Flacco’s play has fallen off a cliff over the past few seasons. As a Jet, he completed 55.2% of his passes last year for 864 yards, 6 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and the lowest passer rating since 2017…the season that led Baltimore to Lamar Jackson.

An interesting link

While discussing Lamar Jackson, there are two other things to note. The first is that last season saw the Eagles try and fail to build a coordinator by committee approach. Marty Mornhinweg was brought in as an offensive guru after previously facilitating the rookie breakout of Lamar Jackson that came at the expense of Joe Flacco.

One year later, Flacco ended up working under Rich Scangarello in Denver. Scangarello also joined the Eagles coaching staff in 2020 before being let go this offseason.

Both Scangarello and Mornhinweg placed a heavy emphasis on play-action looks and getting their quarterbacks outside the pocket – something the Eagles tried and failed to do in 2020. Perhaps Flacco’s knowledge of both systems will prove to be valuable to Nick Sirianni, who will be molding his scheme around a quarterback who rushed for over 1,300 yards as an Oklahoma Sooner and put up 354 as a rookie.

A change of heart for Joe Flacco?

There are also some concerns surrounding the leadership of Joe Flacco. He clashed with Scangarello in Denver and didn’t take too kindly to backing up Drew Lock or Lamar Jackson before that. Maybe a contract that gives him more money to ‘be the backup’ will provoke a change of heart. A man can change his stars and Flacco probably realized last year that his window as a starter is a narrow one. Maybe we’ll see a renewed Joe Flacco in 2021 and someone who is all-in on helping a young quarterback develop his talents. That is what he’s being signed for after all.

Future moves?

This pretty much takes the Eagles out of any future free agency moves unless there is a corresponding one that follows to free up some more cap room. They had around $3.7M available going into the week and the release of Deontay Burnett ensured the Eagles were able to stay afloat after signing the veteran signal-caller.

Photo Credit: Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire