Just weeks after winning a Super Bowl and handing Joe Flacco the largest contract in NFL history, the Baltimore Ravens are reportedly shopping their quarterback in hopes he can bring them a haul of players big enough to fill their decimated roster.
"Our offseason obviously hasn't gone exactly as we might have hoped," said general manager Ozzie Newsome, while refusing to comment on the Flacco rumors. "So we have to see what options are out there for us, as we need 53 players to fill a roster and the last time I checked we had six."
The Ravens knew they would lose linebacker Ray Lewis to retirement, but since he danced off the scene the team has also lost its starting center, its best receiver, two additional starting linebackers and a starting safety — with more players expected to jump ship in the coming days.
Bears general manager Phil Emery says he received a call from Newsome this morning offering Flacco, "an elite quarterback," in exchange for "all of your defensive players, Brandon Marshall and your top three picks in this year's draft."
"I asked Ozzie if he was serious," said Emery. "He assured me that he was. I, of course, refused the deal and he started crying, saying 'Please help me. It's fallen apart so fast. How have we come to this place? How?'"
If Flacco isn't enough to land the Ravens several dozen players, the team is said to be willing to sweeten the pot by adding Ray Rice and Terrell Suggs to a deal.
"I don't want to give up all of our marquee players," said Newsome, weeping. "But I have to balance that desire with the need to have enough players to field a team. It's going to have to be a compromise."
Flacco said he wants to remain in Baltimore.
"This is my team. This is my home," he said. "Also, I have a lot of pressure on me to be good now that I have that huge contract. But if I go back to playing poorly, not having any teammates will be a great excuse for me to use."