Quarterback will take center stage for the Arizona Cardinals when they unveil their offseason objectives. Given the draft landscape could they cut some corners by stealing Joe Flacco from the Baltimore Ravens?
New England Patriots game a crossroads for Flacco and Ravens
Another season, another berth in the AFC championship. Since 2008, Joe Flacco has reached this hallowed game three times. It's a feat many great quarterbacks in history can't say but fans around the league still don't give him the credit. In their minds the Baltimore Ravens defense led by Ray Lewis and Ed Reed does the heavy lifting while Flacco reaps the rewards. Simply put until Flacco faces the elephant in the room, which is a Super Bowl trip, he won't have anybody but his teammates at his back. Championships change perspective in sports better than anything else. Flacco doesn't flash the numbers or any sort of style. All he does is win enough games to reach the playoffs and make plays to give his team a chance in the 4th quarter. He struggled for years to get by the Pittsburgh Steelers. When he finally did, another powerhouse rose to remind him of the cruel world of pro football. The New England Patriots robbed Flacco of his chance at a ring last season and look to do the same again. No one wants to admit it, but if Baltimore loses a third AFC title game it could force the team to make a calculated choice. For all the good Flacco does, he may not have what it takes to win a championship. That means free agency in March gets a lot more interesting.
Bruce Arians hire means NFL draft will go offense
Arizona doesn't have the luxury of questioning whether they're getting enough playoff success from their quarterback. Since Kurt Warner retired they haven't gotten close to the postseason and hit rock bottom in 2012 as an offense. Their offensive line couldn't block and their quarterbacks couldn't stay healthy. It was for that reason the team fired Ken Whisenhunt, and hopefully why they hired Bruce Arians. The former Colts offensive coordinator is a 60-year-old veteran with a championship background. He has a knack for grooming quarterbacks but most of all working with questionable lines. Adding him almost guarantees the Cardinals will focus their next NFL draft on the offensive side. The only lingering question is whether they will use the top pick on a quarterback. A lot can change before April but early signs show the class of passers scheduled to go pro aren't nearly as talented and polished as the 2012 group was. Free agency won't offer many solutions either since most of the proven quarterbacks are locked up with their teams. The only name sitting in a gray area is Flacco. His contract is up after the season. Common sense says the Ravens would have a new deal ready but that could change if he loses another championship game. At age 26 he is in his prime. To a team like Arizona he is just what they need.
Bruce Arians got an eyeful of Joe Flacco when he coached in Pittsburgh. He knows what the Baltimore Ravens quarterback can do. If the Arizona Cardinals have a shot at him in free agency, it's no surprise if they take it.
Photo Credit - Kevin C. Cox