Joe Flacco and Jarrett Stidham are at opposite ends of their career. Regardless of what John Elway thinks, Flacco is on the back nine of his career. Stidham, on the other hand, is just getting started.
Flacco’s soon-to-be 13-year career has been unspectacular from a production standpoint. His career 84.1 passer rating is merely solid and 218-141 touchdown-to-interception ratio doesn’t do much to sway opinions on him as a player.
After getting benched by the Baltimore Ravens for Lamar Jackson and then suffering a season-ending injury with the Denver Broncos, the 35-year-old finds himself on his third team in as many seasons. He’s now a member of the New York Jets.
Jets are signing former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco to a one-year deal, sources tell ESPN. Jets GM Joe Douglas was a Ravens’ scout in 2008, when Baltimore drafted Flacco in round one. Now Flacco will rejoin Douglas, and compete for the backup job when he’s healthy and ready.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 22, 2020
Stidham was a fourth-round pick by the New England Patriots in 2019 after a decent two-year run with the Auburn Tigers. He wasn’t NFL ready last season, so sitting behind perhaps the greatest quarterback of all-time in Tom Brady likely did him a great deal of good. Brady has since moved on to Tampa Bay. It’s Stidham’s team for the time being.
Is it fair to compare the two quarterbacks — Flacco and Stidham? Probably not. They’re in two completely different situations. But if one was tasked with choosing between a veteran with a low ceiling and an unproven second-year signal-caller, which player would be the right pick? The answer is pretty simple.
With Joe Flacco at quarterback, a team isn’t going to win many games. Flacco is 6-11 in his last 17 starts, and both of his former teams performed much better without him. The Ravens were able to scratch and claw their way into the playoffs. Denver won four of its final five games with Drew Lock at the helm.
While Flacco may have a better feel for or understanding of the game than Stidham, he’s a statue in the pocket and doesn’t elevate the play of his teammates. He’s also coming off a major injury and is 35 years old.
The NFL isn’t sure what Stidham is yet. He made good decisions at Auburn and is a bright young quarterback, but wasn’t asked to do too much in college. How much did sitting behind Brady for a year help him? Did he pick up the habits that it takes to be successful at the highest level? We’ll soon find out, as he’s been handed the keys to the car by head coach Bill Belichick.
The only time we’ve seen Stidham face NFL defenses for an extended period of time was last preseason. The results were outstanding, as he completed 61-of-90 passes for 731 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception. It’s highly unlikely that he replicates that in the regular season, but he’s also grown as a quarterback since then.
Stidham’s floor may be lower than Flacco’s. It’s possible. But the risk is well worth the potential reward. We know what Flacco is at this point in his career, but the ceiling with Stidham has yet to be scratched. He’s the easy pick in this scenario.