The NFL free agency period doesn’t begin until March 13. However, it has been reported the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens have agreed in principle to trade quarterback Joe Flacco on Wednesday.
Flacco, a Super Bowl winning quarterback, knew his time was nearing an end with the Ravens. After starting nine games during the the 2018 season, Flacco suffered a nagging hip injury. Eventually, he went to the bench and never regained the starting quarterback position due to the resurgence of the playoff-bound Ravens.
Although Flacco was (4-5) as a starter, the Ravens didn’t see a future for the veteran quarterback in the lineup. He threw for 2,465 yards, 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions in the first half of the season. Yet, the Ravens were toiling in a three-game losing streak when the bye week approached. It was the perfect storm to usher in the Lamar Jackson era. Once Jackson helped lead the Ravens back to the postseason, we all knew it was a matter of time before Flacco was dealt elsewhere. Still, he could have found many NFL homes intriguing for the 2019 season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the few teams that need a fresh start for a new quarterback. They weren’t the only AFC contender with a stout defense. The Broncos also made a name for themselves on the defensive side of the ball. Yet, it’s been their lack of stellar quarterback play in recent seasons that have thwarted any playoff runs. Now, the Broncos are relying 34-year-old Flacco to break the mold of offensive ineptitude.
Last season, Case Keenum was supposed to be the answer to the Broncos’ quarterback situation. Keenum was coming off of an NFC Championship game appearance. Yet, he wasn’t good enough to stay with the Minnesota Vikings. Now, Keenum will be on the market for the season year in a row. According to Ian Rapoport, the Broncos will begin shopping Keenum to teams in need of a signal caller.
The most intriguing part of the Flacco deal is where he was traded to. The Ravens had no problem with keeping him in the AFC. Is this reminiscent of when the Philadelphia Eagles traded Donovan McNabb to NFC East rivals Washington Redskins in 2010? It’s not exactly the same but it is something to watch for next season.
Flacco is expected to receive his full salary of $18.5 million. If all goes well, the two sides will agree to a deal for the 2020 season and beyond. However, if John Elway’s latest move falls flat, the Broncos will still be in need of a viable option at quarterback.