Joe Flacco Eyeing New Browns Deal

Joe Flacco is on track to hit free agency with far more value than he had one year ago. If the 39-year-old quarterback has his way, though, he will remain in Cleveland for 2024.

Flacco is among the Browns’ pending free agents, and a recent report noted he was expected to gauge the market for the chance to operate as a starter. He did so to close out the 2023 season – in surprisingly effective fashion – while filling in for the injured Deshaun Watson. The latter will be in place for years to come, though, meaning a new Browns accord would consign Flacco to backup duties.

In spite of that, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports a Cleveland re-up is Flacco’s “first choice.” The former Super Bowl MVP joined midseason after failing to receive much interest following the end of his Jets tenure. He took charge of a severely injured offense down the stretch and helped lead the team to the postseason.

Flacco earned Comeback Player of the Year honors as a result, and he would no doubt be able to land at least a notable backup deal with any number of teams on the open market as he attempts to play two more years. It will be interesting to see how willing the Browns are to entertain talks in the coming days to prevent him from reaching free agency. The team currently has roughly $6.8MM in cap space.

Cleveland is amenable to a new Flacco pact, one which will add further to the cap investments made under center. Watson is currently set to count nearly $64MM against the cap over the next three years, meaning another restructure will be necessary. The Browns also added Dorian Thompson-Robinson in the fifth round of last year’s draft, giving them a young and cost-effective option at the QB spot even if Flacco leaves.

A signing amongst the various bridge options set to hit the market would allow the Browns to maintain depth in the wake of Watson’s season-ending shoulder injury. A number of outside options will be available, but retaining Flacco could wind up being the team’s ultimate direction if his desire to remain in place meshes with Cleveland’s valuation.

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