As the Ravens offensively try to figure out what exactly went wrong with this season, leaving everyone and seemingly everything open to criticism and/or evaluation, Joe Flacco hasn’t escaped the notice of fans in that way. And if you believe that the firing of Jim Zorn was an indictment of sorts of Flacco’s development, then he hasn’t escaped the notice of management either.
Whether or not Flacco is or should be considered a top 5 or top 10 quarterback is debatable and also a week-to-week proposition. Below is my assessment of where Flacco fits in the league’s hierarchy of quarterbacks, based on the question would you trade him for _________?
List 1 – The guys that you’d trade Flacco for tomorrow, no questions asked:
1. Tom Brady
2. Peyton Manning
3. Drew Brees
4. Ben Roethlisberger – how many teams would like to dial back the clock to when Pittsburgh was reportedly shopping him?
5. Aaron Rodgers – can’t understate what he’s done while seemingly losing weapons week-by-week
List 2 – Call them the pushes, these are the guys that I wouldn’t trade Flacco for, but that I wouldn’t expect fans of their respective teams to want to trade their guy for Flacco either:
6. Phillip Rivers – he was really close to making the first list
7. Eli Manning – his hardware could also give him a strong argument
8. Michael Vick – safe to say that most either love him or hate him
9. Matt Schaub – how much of what we’ve seen from him is attributable to Andre Johnson?
10. Matt Ryan – the quintessential Flacco comparative
11. Mark Sanchez – quickly rising up the charts
12. Sam Bradford – a lot of people like what they’ve seen from this kid
List 3 – Potentially controversial omissions, but guys I wouldn’t consider swapping for Flacco:
13. Josh Freeman – like Bradford, a lot of people think highly of where this kid is in his development
14. Carson Palmer – is he done or have the Bengals just worn on him?
15. Jay Cutler – toughness issues aside, he probably belongs on list 2
16. Tony Romo
17. Kyle Orton / Tim Tebow – either or
18. Matthew Stafford – I like what I’ve seen of him, but the injuries are becoming a big concern
List 4 – The rest (in no particular order):
Colt McCoy/Jake Delhomme
Vince Young/Kerry Collins
Chad Henne/Chad Pennington
Bruce Gradkowski/Jason Campbell
Donavan McNabb/Rex Grossman – McNabb probably deserves a little more respect, but he did get benched for Grossman
Tavaris Jackson/Joe Webb
Matt Moore/Jimmy Clausen
Alex Smith/Troy Smith – the law firm of Smith and Smith
Derek Anderson/Max Hall
And what about the rookies? Are there any rookies or soon to be rookies that you’d trade Flacco for? Blaine Gabbert could be intriguing, as could Andrew Luck who elected to stay in school or another of the rest of this year’s projected best, Jake Locker, Cam Newton or Ryan Mallett. Give me the bird in the hand, or maybe these days the devil we know would be more apt.