On a seemingly quiet day for the NFL, it quickly turned into a semi-tumultuous day. The Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos verbally agreed to a trade to send Joe Flacco to Denver. The deal is reportedly Flacco for a mid-round pick that has yet to be disclosed. My guess is that it is a fourth-round pick for the former Super Bowl-winning signal caller.
The trade cannot officially be processed until the new league starts on March 13th. With this move, it shows the Ravens are ready to head onward with Lamar Jackson as their franchise quarterback.
Everyone knows that the Broncos have been probing for a quarterback since Peyton Manning retired in 2015. At least for Broncos fans, Manning brought them a Super Bowl before walking away.
Since then, they’ve gone through the likes of Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, and of course Case Keenum most recently at quarterback. Just last offseason, the Broncos signed Keenum to a 2 -year, $36 million deal.
This was after Keenum had a career year for the Minnesota Vikings en route to an NFC Championship bid. The Vikings fell short to the Philadelphia Eagles. John Elway thought he was getting the Keenum we saw for the Vikings but that obviously wasn’t the case. Keenum struggled mightily, throwing for 3,890 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions.
The Broncos missed the playoffs once again, leading them to start searching for a new answer at the quarterback position. That is where Flacco suddenly comes into the mix.
The Ravens decided to start their first-round pick in Jackson halfway through the season. This prompted fans and the media to believe that Flacco played his last down for the Ravens already.
Flacco was out due to an injury but the team was crawling through the season at a 4-5 record through nine games. Jackson came in and immediately gave the team life—winning six of his seven games.
The Ravens also reached the playoffs with the newfound life that Jackson brought. Although Flacco was likely happy to see his team make the playoffs—he knew it hurt his case on sticking around.
The Ravens and Flacco knew their time together was up—pushing a trade to the Broncos during the offseason. With the trade, the Broncos will reportedly look to trade Keenum if possible.
The question that inevitably gets asked with a trade like this: Does Flacco make the Broncos contenders?
It is a resounding no. The Broncos don’t have the roster they did in 2015 and the AFC West has gotten stronger. They could prove me wrong but it’s hard to see Flacco leading this roster deep into the playoffs past his prime.
I understand with the emergence of Phillip Lindsay and Emmanuel Sanders returning from injury, there is going to be a sliver of hope. If Courtland Sutton can step up you can maybe say this offense can make some noise.
Flacco hasn’t been one-hundred percent for the past few seasons. Even when he was on the field, his play wasn’t anything to get excited about.
In nine starts in 2018, Flacco threw for 2,465 yards, 12 touchdowns, and six interceptions. He also completed just 61.2% of his passes—his lowest completion percentage since 2013.
Like most quarterbacks, it seems like Flacco has hit the point of his career where he is declining. Father time is undefeated against quarterbacks—besides the rare exception of Tom Brady.
Even if the offense performs up to par, the defense isn’t what it once was. The Broncos still have Von Miller, Chris Harris Jr., and Brandon Marshall but lack much besides that.
Bradley Chubb showed promise in his rookie season last year but the secondary needs some work. Bradley Roby is an unrestricted free agent while Darian Stewart and Marshall could be possible candidates to be cut this offseason.
There’s just too many “what ifs” and hypotheticals for me to trust in this team contending. In the AFC West, you need a high-powered offense to make it out on top.
The Los Angeles Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs both have offenses that can score with the best of them. This is due to having gunslingers like Philip Rivers and Patrick Mahomes running then show.
Flacco is not in the same class as those guys at this point of his career. Some would argue he never was—and understandably so. I do believe Flacco is an upgrade over Keenum though—especially in the sense of having experience with winning a Super Bowl.
The Broncos ended the 2018 season at 6-10. Does Flacco improve them by four or more wins? Not to me because you will likely need 11 or more wins to capture the AFC West title for the near future.
With Flacco, I think this team ends up being a middle of the pack team who is standing at around 8-8 when it’s all said and done.
For Broncos fans, I wouldn’t get too optimistic with the news of Flacco coming aboard. It can improve your team for a season but won’t make you contenders again just yet.