Colts, QB Joe Flacco Agree To Deal

Joe Flacco enjoyed a highly impressive late-season re-emergence with the Browns in 2023, but Cleveland elected to add Jameis Winston as a backup quarterback for 2024. Flacco has found a new opportunity for next season, though.

The reigning Comeback Player of the Year has agreed to a one-year deal with the Colts, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He adds the contract is worth up to $8.7MM and includes $4.5MM guaranteed. Flacco will thus be able to meet his stated goal of continuing his career for at least one more season, while taking the place of Gardner Minshew as the Colts’ backup to Anthony Richardson. Adam Caplan of Pro Football Network reports the Flacco pact includes incentives for playing time, wins, a playoff berth and postseason victories totaling $3.7MM.

Minshew agreed to a two-year deal with the Raiders at the onset of the negotiating window. That pact includes $15MM guaranteed and can be worth up to $25MM, leading many to believe he could compete for the starting role in Vegas. The Browns, meanwhile, inked Winston to a one-year deal worth a similar maximum value to the one Flacco has taken. Now, the latter and Indianapolis have struck a deal to meet each other’s needs.

Cleveland endured a slew of injuries on offense in 2023, including Deshaun Watson being lost for the campaign with a shoulder injury. The team identified Flacco as an insurance option for its other passers, but in short order it was the former Super Bowl MVP at the helm. Flacco took on starting duties to close out the regular season, averaging a stunning 323 passing yards per game. Without Nick Chubb in the fold, it was the 39-year-old’s play (coupled with a stout defense) which guided the Browns into the postseason (during which time, to be fair, his interception troubles became a major issue).

Both player and team expressed a willingness to work out a deal, with Flacco publicly stating his preference to remain in Cleveland. It had been expected that the longtime Ravens starter would reach the market, however, and the Winston deal confirmed the Browns would not pursue a re-up. Now, Flacco will take on a new QB2 role behind Richardson, whose rookie season was limited to just four games.

After being drafted fourth overall last April, Richardson joined Indianapolis with the expectation he would put an end to the team’s search for a permanent Andrew Luck successor. A healthy campaign will go a long way to determining his ability to reach that target. Flacco, meanwhile, will be in place as a capable backup after Minshew nearly did enough for the Colts to win the division in 2023 upon taking the reins. The former has stated an intention of playing at least two more years, and a strong showing in 2024 would help his chances of doing so.

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