4:04pm: Flacco’s visit will not produce an agreement at least at this time, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. As he notes, the update may be a simple matter of the veteran not being able to suit up for Week 11 so soon after the workout and thus not being needed on the roster. In any case, both team and player will assess where they stand at this point with the potential to work out a deal down the road.
8:42am: Browns GM Andrew Berry indicated the Browns’ QB plan will hinge on Dorian Thompson-Robinson and P.J. Walker, but the team will add a third passer in the wake of Deshaun Watson‘s upcoming surgery. A workout will determine how Cleveland proceeds.
Joe Flacco will audition for the team today, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports. While a multi-QB workout has been rumored, ESPN.com’s Jake Trotter notes Flacco is the only passer the Browns are bringing in today. The former Super Bowl-winning Ravens QB expressed interest in playing this season, and he later reached out to the Jets following Aaron Rodgers‘ Achilles tear. Nothing came of that, and Flacco has remained in free agency since his latest Jets contract expired in March.
Now 38, Flacco is far removed from his prime. He spent time at all three positions on the Jets’ QB depth chart last season. The two-stint Jet began last season as a starter, however, due to a Zach Wilson injury. The Jets later pivoted to Mike White as their starter upon benching Wilson, though Flacco factored into the AFC East team’s past three QB plans.
The Browns are likely looking to add a practice squad QB, Rapoport notes. Options are obviously limited, especially with the Rams signing Carson Wentz last week. This addition is not certain to occur today, but cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot adds the Browns will have a third QB on their roster before their Week 12 game against the Broncos.
Cleveland will turn back to Thompson-Robinson this week, doing so after the fifth-round rookie’s previous start led to a quick demotion. Walker has completed only 49% of his passes this season, and with the Browns showing enough confidence in Thompson-Robinson they traded Josh Dobbs to the Cardinals in August, they will see how the UCLA product fares after a full week of practice reps.
The Ravens traded Flacco to the Broncos in 2019, doing so after moving to Lamar Jackson on a full-time basis. Following that Denver one-off, the former Super Bowl MVP has been with the Eagles and Jets during the 2020s. Not seeing any game action with Philly, Flacco received nine Jets starts from 2020-22. He went 1-8 in those outings; the win came in Cleveland. Flacco directed a come-from-behind victory in Week 2 of last season, carving up a then-suspect Browns defense during a 307-yard, four-touchdown passing day. The 15-year veteran did not sustain that form, with the Jets giving White and then Chris Streveler work later in 2022.
It appears the Browns are only planning to turn to other QBs if they are unsatisfied with Flacco’s current form. Flacco signing with Cleveland would make him the NFL’s second-oldest active passer, behind only Rodgers. Flacco has made 160 career starts. While Berry had become the Browns’ GM by the time Flacco signed with the Eagles in 2021, assistant GM Catherine Raiche was in Philly during Flacco’s months-long stay. The Eagles traded Flacco back to the Jets in October 2021.