Robert Saleh defends Joe Flacco trade despite remaining unvaccinated: We’re ‘playing with house money’

·3-min read

Joe Flacco is one again inactive for the New York Jets this week, marking the third time he’s been that way since they traded for him nearly a month ago.

This time, Flacco landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list — and revealed that he is still unvaccinated against the coronavirus.

While the Jets’ trade for the 36-year-old quarterback turned a few heads when it went through, the move is being criticized even more so now — especially considering he’s not protected against the coronavirus.

Jets coach Robert Saleh, however, isn’t thinking twice about sending a sixth-round pick for Flacco.

"I'll stand by this forever: When someone offers a sixth-round pick for a player of Joe's caliber, to me there is no risk," Saleh said Wednesday, via ESPN. "You're playing with house money. I've said it before, you can trade back one spot and get that sixth-round pick back in a hurry.

"I know we look at draft capital, but that's an easy decision. He's a proven quarterback, a Super Bowl quarterback, a record holder, a guy who can settle an offense if he needs to step in there, which he did on Sunday. He did a phenomenal job against Miami's pressure system. That, in itself, is worth its weight in gold."

Zach Wilson starting after White, Flacco out

Both Flacco and fellow Jets backup Mike White landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. Flacco, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, is considered a close contact.

Flacco revealed last week that he was still unvaccinated, which means he has to test negative for five straight days after his last contact before he can return. Flacco didn’t reveal why he was still unvaccinated, only saying that he didn’t want to be a distraction.

If Flacco were vaccinated, he’d be able to remain with the team. White’s status is unknown.

Flacco has played in two games for the Jets this season, and has thrown for 338 yards and three touchdowns.

Jets rookie Zach Wilson will instead start on Sunday for their game against the Houston Texans, where they’re listed as +2.5 underdogs on BetMGM. He hasn’t played since suffering a sprained PCL in his knee in Week 7.

The former BYU standout led the Jets to a 1-5 record in his first six appearances for the Jets while completing 57.5% of his passes and averaging nearly 195 passing yards per game. He’s thrown four touchdowns to nine interceptions.

With both Flacco and White out, the Jets brought Josh Johnson up from their practice squad to back Wilson up on Sunday in Houston. If Flacco can get cleared in time — the earliest would be Saturday, if all goes well — Saleh said they may fly him to Texas at the last minute.

"There's a possibility he could be there Sunday," Saleh said, via ESPN. "We're rolling with Josh unless this holiday season something else happens, so we're going to leave that door open."

New York Jets quarterback Joe Flacco
Both Joe Flacco, who said he is still unvaccinated, and Mike White landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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