The Broncos’ struggling offense will be in for a bigger test next week. Joe Flacco suffered a neck injury and will miss the team’s Week 9 game against the Browns, Vic Fangio said (via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero, on Twitter).
That will move backup Brandon Allen into Denver’s starting lineup. Acquired just before the start of the regular season, Allen has never taken a regular-season snap. Drew Lock is eligible to come off IR this week, but Allen will get the call.
Flacco’s injury could mean a multi-week absence, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Fangio said IR is a possibility for Denver’s starter; Flacco going on IR would effectively end his season. Flacco is dealing with a herniated disk, the team announced. This puts the remainder of the 12th-year passer’s season in jeopardy.
This injury is not expected to require surgery, per 9News’ Mike Klis, who adds Lock will either be brought off IR this week or practice squad passer Brett Rypien will be promoted (Twitter links). The Broncos’ healthy quarterback contingent collectively has zero NFL pass attempts.
Flacco missed time in 2015 and 2018 due to injuries, and the longtime Raven dealt with back discomfort in 2017. The Broncos sent a fourth-round pick to the Ravens in exchange for Flacco. They also restructured his deal in September, tethering the 34-year-old quarterback to the 2020 cap sheet. Previously, Flacco had no guaranteed money on his deal post-2019. Now, $13.6MM in dead-money charges would come if the veteran is cut next year.
Flacco was critical of the Broncos’ play-calling in their loss to the Colts on Sunday and has them at 2-6 — Denver’s worst record after eight games since 2010. Allen was a sixth-round Jaguars pick out of Arkansas in 2016. He spent parts of the past two seasons with the Rams, before coming to Denver as a waiver claim.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.