The Joe Flacco era is effectively over in Baltimore. The Ravens agreed to trade the quarterback to the Broncos, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The Ravens will receive a fourth-round pick in return, Albert Breer of The MMQB tweets. Denver will send the selection it acquired in the Demaryius Thomas trade (No. 23 in the round) to Baltimore.
Technically, the trade cannot be processed until the new league year begins on Wednesday, March 13, but the two sides have a deal in principle. The Ravens will absorb a $16MM dead money hit from the trade and, as expected, move forward with Lamar Jackson as their top QB. Meanwhile, they’ll save roughly $10MM against the cap in 2019, enabling them to strengthen the rest of the offense by landing a playmaker or two in free agency.
The Broncos have yet to speak with Flacco about his contract, but they do not anticipate any issues if they keep his salary of $18.5MM unchanged for 2019, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears (on Twitter). Effectively, he’d move forward under a prove-it deal that the Broncos can either move on from in 2020 or re-work.
New Broncos head coach Vic Fangio spent a season in Baltimore, so he has some familiarity with the 34-year-old. Former Broncos executive Gary Kubiak was also a champion of Flacco, which may have influenced GM John Elway‘s decision to trade for him.
The Broncos signed Case Keenum to a lucrative contract last offseason, but the arrival of Flacco could put him out of work. Keenum has one year to go on his two-year, $36MM pact, but the Broncos can shed the deal if they are willing to take a $10MM dead money hit.
Flacco was overshadowed by Jackson last season, but he still more-than-serviceable in his nine games. The veteran signal-caller completed 61.2% of his passes for 2,465 yards, 12 touchdowns, and six interceptions. Coach John Harbaugh was also very complimentary of his skills.
“Joe Flacco is going to play really well in this league. Joe can still play — I think we saw that the first half of the season,” Harbaugh said in January. “Joe’s going to have a market. There’s going to be a lot of teams that are going to want Joe because they understand that. I’ll be in Joe’s corner wherever he’s at. He’s special. Joe Flacco is a great talent; he’s an even better person. He’s the best QB in the history of the Ravens without question…He’s going to do just fine.”
The Flacco deal will have ramifications elsewhere as one QB-needy team is no longer in the Nick Foles sweepstakes. The Giants, Dolphins, Jaguars, Redskins, and the incumbent Eagles all figure to kick the tires on Foles, but the Broncos are almost certainly out of the picture.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.