Joe Flacco Undergoes Neck Surgery: Is His Career Over?

Published: 6:59pm, May 8, 2020 EDT | Updated: 7:05pm, May 8, 2020 EDT

Written by Chris Kubala

With the NFL schedule coming out this week and the lack of other professional sports going on at the moment, the news that comes out about sports is magnified. Instead of disappearing into the atmosphere and being forgotten about in 24 hours with the next set of results, things tend to hang around a little longer. With the personnel shifts we’ve seen in the offseason, be it via trade, free agency or players being released, it makes for plenty of interesting situations around the league.

One thing that we’re still looking at is the situation of quarterback Joe Flacco, who spent most of his career with the Ravens before going to Denver via trade for a fourth-round pick last March. It was a rough 2019 for Flacco, who played just eight games before going down with a neck injury that led him being placed on injured reserve on November 1. With Flacco out, the Broncos turned to Brandon Allen and then rookie Drew Lock, who went 4-1 in his five starts after coming off IR, to finish the year 7-9. Coming into 2020, Lock was considered the de facto starter under center and as a result, the team waived Flacco with a failed physical designation back in March.

On Friday, a source confirmed with ESPN that Flacco had undergone neck surgery in early April and likely will be out of action until early September. When he hit injured reserve last season, Flacco said that he hoped to continue playing if he could gain medical clearance. This is the first step toward getting there with having the surgery. It’s unclear as to how things will unfold from this point in time but Flacco, 35, clearly thinks he still has something left in the tank to contribute. Obviously, should he make the comeback that he hopes to, it would be a team taking a flyer on a veteran quarterback coming off an injury.

If nothing else, Flacco would provide veteran leadership and experience to a team with a young quarterback. While he wouldn’t be able to practice or take hits in the early going, he’d at least be able to learn a playbook and help mentor a rookie or second-year quarterback right now to help get them acclimated to the NFL. A team like Cincinnati, which let go of Andy Dalton, would be a solid fit for Flacco in that regard. The Bengals have first overall pick Joe Burrow at quarterback as there isn’t much behind him. Cincinnati has 2019 fourth-round pick Ryan Finley and Jacob Dolegala, who was an undrafted free-agent pickup last year, on the depth chart.

In his career, Flacco has compiled a 98-73 mark as a starting quarterback in the regular season. He has thrown for 40,067 yards with 218 touchdown passes against 141 interceptions. Flacco has a 61.9 percent career completion percentage and an 84.1 QB rating. In the postseason, he is 10-5, throwing for 3,223 yards with 25 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions while completing 56.6 percent of his throws. His best playoff run came in 2012, when Flacco completed 73 of 129 passes for 1,140 yards with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions en route to leading the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory.

It’s unclear if this is the end of the road for Flacco but we wish him well in his rehabilitation efforts as he attempts to return to the field.