Breaking: Baltimore has agreement in principle to trade former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco to the Broncos, league sources told ESPN.
Trade cannot be processed until new NFL league year begins Wednesday, March 13. Teams prohibited from commenting on deal or terms surrounding it.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 13, 2019
The Denver Broncos traded for former Ravens QB Joe Flacco on Wednesday morning. The details of the trade have yet to be revealed but expect something in the neighborhood of a 4th round pick.
The trade makes sense for Denver, who has been clamoring for a QB since Peyton Manning retired. Flacco is by no means the QB of the future in Mile High, but he brings a strong arm and a veteran presence. While many remember Flacco’s albatross contract, the Broncos owe him only $18.5M in 2019 with no guaranteed money. His base salary increases to $20.4M next season. Expect the Broncos to draft their quarterback of the future either this year or next. Perhaps Bronco’s GM John Elway would take a shot on the dynamic Kyler Murray if he is still on the board at the 10th pick. If not, having Flacco allows Elway to wait until next year’s QB heavy draft to find his man. Lamar Jackson credits Flacco for helping Jackson develop last year, even after Jackson took over the starting role. Perhaps the Broncos are hoping for similar help from Flacco down the road.
Flacco’s career has been up and down. His struggles recently have been well documented, but his postseason success is topped only by Tom Brady since 2008. His run to Super Bowl XLVII will go down as the best of all time, with Flacco throwing for 11 touchdowns and no interceptions and a Super Bowl MVP award. The wild swings in Flacco’s play lead to the question “Is Joe Flacco Elite?” in the early 2010s. While the answer is no he is not elite, there are plenty of reasons to think he may still be good.
The Broncos are banking on Flacco’s recent struggles being due to the Raven’s inability to surround him with adequate talent. The Ravens have not drafted a 1000-yard receiver since Torrey Smith. Meanwhile the Broncos have Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton at wide receiver and Phillip Lindsay in the backfield. That is the most talent around Flacco since his career year in 2014 when he was throwing to Steve Smith Sr and Torrey Smith. Flacco threw for 3,896 yards, 27 TDs, and 12 INTs that season with a 91.0 passer rating in the same Gary Kubiak system the Broncos are currently running. If the Broncos can get anywhere close to that, this trade feels like a win.
For the Ravens, the trade pushes all chips in on Lamar Jackson. The young QB showed promise as a rookie, but he needs to improve throwing mechanics if Baltimore is to repeat as AFC North champions. While the trade leaves $16M in dead money, it frees up $10.5M of cap space desperately needed to resign linebackers CJ Mosley and Zadarius Smith.
All in all, this feels like a win for both teams. The Broncos have found a bridge quarterback to stay afloat until they find their franchise guy. The Ravens are getting compensation for a guy they were likely going to cut anyway.