Joe Flacco

Joe Flacco Passes Broncos Physical

Last week’s trade agreement between the Broncos and Ravens, which will send Joe Flacco to Denver and the better of the Broncos’ two fourth-round picks to Baltimore, looks set to go through.

Flacco traveled to Denver and passed a physical conducted by the Broncos, Albert Breer of SI.com reports.

Although Flacco has started 16 games in nine of his 11 seasons, he has battled a few injuries in recent years. Following his torn ACL in 2015, Flacco encountered back trouble during the 2017 offseason. Last season, a hip injury sidelined him for weeks and eventually led to Lamar Jackson stepping in and, ultimately, bringing setting up last week’s trade.

No trade can become official until the 2019 league year begins on March 13. Flacco will then be headed to the Broncos, where he stands to become the team’s fourth Week 1 starting quarterback in the past five seasons — following Peyton Manning, Trevor Siemian and Case Keenum. Denver’s previous starter remains on the roster, but the Broncos are planning to trade or, more likely, cut the soon-to-be 31-year-old Keenum.

Now 34, Flacco will play on an $18.5MM salary next season. He is not expected to redo his through-2021 contract, which contains no more guaranteed money. The Ravens will eat $16MM in dead money once the trade goes through.

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Broncos Notes: Harris, Flacco, LBs, Leary

With Aqib Talib having been traded and Bradley Roby likely to leave Denver as a free agent, the Broncos have work to do to repair their once-formidable cornerback corps. However, the third player from the team’s longtime trio may be in position to sign a third contract soon. Chris Harris is entering a contract year, and with the Broncos having no other foundational pieces at this position, it would seemingly behoove them to enter into extension talks with their versatile All-Pro. Harris has said he is open to signing a third Broncos contract, and Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post writes the 29-year-old defender will be on the 2019 team, as opposed to being shopped around, and is a likely target for an extension. One of this era’s premier corners, Harris nonetheless has a manageable cap number this season ($8.77MM), so an extension would stand to be more about keeping him in the fold than reducing his 2019 figure.

Denver is also expected to let Tramaine Brock walk, so cornerback — for the first time since the Broncos swapped out Champ Bailey and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for Talib and Roby five years ago — is a major need for this franchise.

Here is the latest from Denver, shifting to its quarterback decision:

  • Joe Flacco will be the fourth Broncos Week 1 starting quarterback in the past five seasons, and thus far the reaction to Denver’s move has skewed negative. But multiple executives viewed this as potentially a short-term gain, with O’Halloran noting one called this a solid move for both the Broncos and Ravens and another seeing the 34-year-old passer having multiple good years left. One defensive assistant, however, disagreed, viewing the veteran as having little quality football left. Flacco has not ranked above 19th in QBR since the 2014 season, when he was ninth. The Broncos will attempt to place him in a similar offense to the Gary Kubiak-coordinated attack that unleashed Flacco five years ago, but with so much time passing, it’s obviously no guarantee Flacco can return to form.
  • The Broncos prioritized Brandon Marshall over Danny Trevathan three years ago, in extending the former and letting the latter walk as a free agent. But in cutting Marshall this week, the Broncos jettisoned their top coverage linebacker. They are expected to look for help on this front in the draft, Mike Klis of 9News notes. Denver still has plus run defender Todd Davis and 2018 fourth-rounder Josey Jewell, but Klis writes the team will look for a rangier addition to complement its incumbents.
  • Offensive line will also be a need for the Broncos, with free agent center Matt Paradis‘ status up in the air. But one member is in line to return. Ronald Leary will not be ready to pass a physical by March 17, Klis tweets. This would fully guarantee $5.35MM of the guard’s $8.1MM salary. Unless the Broncos want to eat a reasonable amount of dead money, as they did upon releasing Menelik Watson last year, Leary can be expected back. The 29-year-old guard has played well in Denver but finished the past two seasons on IR, a 2018 Achilles injury shelving him after seven games.

Redskins Were Interested In Joe Flacco

The Redskins may have a chance to contend for a playoff spot in 2019, but they will need a legitimate QB to get them there. Alex Smith is expected to miss the entire season (and may never play again), and while the club could re-sign Colt McCoy, it seems unlikely that McCoy can lead a playoff push.

To that end, Washington did speak with the Ravens about a potential trade for Joe Flacco before Baltimore agreed to trade Flacco to the Broncos, per Troy Renck of Denver 7 (via Twitter). Renck says that the trade with the Broncos came together quickly because of Washington’s involvement.

John Keim of ESPN.com, though, is skeptical. He concedes that the Redskins did their due diligence on Flacco, and will continue to do their due diligence on QBs on the free agent and trade markets, but the team simply could not afford to absorb Flacco’s contract since they already have so much money committed to Smith. And it’s not at though other clubs aren’t aware of Washington’s difficult cap situation, so Keim thinks it unlikely that the Broncos were worried about the Redskins’ involvement in the Flacco sweepstakes (Twitter link).

Indeed, Keim tweets that he would be surprised if the Redskins could swing a deal for any high-priced QB like Flacco or Nick Foles. Speculatively, the team could make a play for Teddy Bridgewater or Tyrod Taylor, or try to pry away restricted free agent Nate Sudfeld from the rival Eagles, but those moves would not engender a ton of excitement. Depending on how they feel about the 2019 crop of college passers, the Redskins could draft a rookie signal-caller, though they may have to trade up in the first round to get one of the top prospects.

Potential cap casualties like Case Keenum and A.J. McCarron may also be in play for Washington.

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Broncos Notes: Flacco, Draft, Marshall

The Broncos may have acquired veteran signal-caller Joe Flacco earlier this week, but that doesn’t mean the organization won’t draft a quarterback in this year’s draft. A Broncos source told Matt Miller of Bleacher Report that the team wouldn’t balk at taking one of the top quarterback prospects.

“We’re going to take the best player on our board when the pick comes up,” the source said. “Period.”

Of course, that quote indicates that the team won’t specifically target a quarterback, but it also shows that the team will be flexible heading into the draft. As Miller notes, the Broncos have been connected to Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, although the prospect isn’t projected to be a top-10 pick (Denver’s slotted in at the 10th-overall pick).

Let’s check out some more notes out of Denver…

  • The Broncos will be searching for some help at cornerback this offseason, according to ESPN’s Jeff LegwoldBradley RobyTramaine Brock and Jamar Taylor are all set to hit free agency, meaning the team will need to search for someone to play opposite Chris Harris. The veteran defensive back recognizes that his team will be seeking reinforcement in the secondary, and he’s confident that new head coach Vic Fangio will help to revitalize the entire unit. “It’s like I’ve said, I think we just haven’t evolved here,” Harris said. “You know, after the Super Bowl [in 2016], it’s like we kind of just got stagnant. We haven’t evolved. We’ve got to evolve with everything … get better as players, all of us. I just think this past year we were kind of behind.”
  • We learned yesterday that the Broncos weren’t going to be picking up linebacker Brandon Marshall‘s option, making him a free agent. The 29-year-old emerged as a starting-caliber player during his tenure in Denver, and he’s been productive in both a 4-3 and 3-4 scheme. Marshall believes that versatility will help him as he searches for his next gig. “I think that’s going to help me a lot (in free agency),” he told Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post. “I was in a 4-3 my first year starting in Denver and playing a 3-4 will let teams know I can do it all.”
  • Back to Flacco, we heard earlier this week that the team doesn’t intend to re-work the veteran’s contract. The 34-year-old is under contract in each of the next three seasons at base salaries of $18.5MM, $20.25MM, and $24.25MM, although none of that money is guaranteed.

South Notes: Flacco, Texans, Bucs, Panthers

In agreeing to trade for Joe Flacco, the Broncos made an early move to attempt to upgrade at quarterback. As bad as things have gone at quarterback for the Broncos over the past three years, the Jaguars have experienced more trouble. The Jags were mentioned as a Flacco suitor earlier this offseason, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets the team continued to have interest until the Broncos pulled the trigger. However, Denver’s offer of a fourth-round pick was the best proposal Baltimore received, La Canfora adds. This was the Broncos’ fourth-round pick (No. 106), not the selection they acquired from the Texans in exchange for Demaryius Thomas (No. 118).

Shifting to non-Flacco matters, here is the latest from the South divisions:

  • Thomas’ Texans tenure did not last long, with the team predictably balking on the former Pro Bowl wide receiver’s lofty 2019 salary. But with the Texans making the move to release the 31-year-old wideout while he is still recovering from a severe Achilles injury, Thomas is in line to receive injury protection, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets. Article 45 of the CBA stipulates Thomas would stand to receive $1.2MM from the Texans, reducing the franchise’s cap savings on this move from $14MM to $12.8MM. Nevertheless, Thomas’ salary coming off the Texans’ books increases their cap space to nearly $76MM.
  • Although Pro Football Focus had not viewed Donovan Smith as an upper-echelon tackle, the Buccaneersfront office has held him in higher regard. Even as the team shifts to Bruce Arians calling the shots on the sideline, keeping Smith off the market may still be on the table. Indications point to the Bucs placing the franchise tag on Smith if no deal can be reached before then, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The 2019 tag for offensive linemen is expected to come in at just more than $14MM. Were Smith to reach the market, he could command a lucrative deal. Although, with only three tackles making $14MM per year, it would be a stretch for the Bucs’ four-year left tackle starter to exceed that total — the annual offensive line sellers’ market notwithstanding.
  • Ben Jacobsearly-offseason release will not lead to the longtime special-teamer catching on elsewhere. The former Panthers linebacker will instead take a staff position with Carolina, the franchise announced. Jacobs is the Panthers’ new assistant special teams coach. Jacobs, 30, spent six years with the Panthers, serving as a core member of Carolina’s ST units for most of that time. He will work under fellow former Panthers linebacker Chase Blackburn.
  • The Panthers will be the latest team to bring in a game management coach. Sam Mills III, son of the former Panthers and Saints linebacker, will begin working in this role, the team announced. A 15th-year Panthers staffer, Mills will retain his defensive line coach title while helping Ron Rivera on game days with replay challenges, clock management and other situational elements.

Broncos Won’t Re-Work Joe Flacco’s Contract

The Broncos do not intend to re-work Joe Flacco‘s contract after agreeing to acquire him from the Ravens earlier today, according to Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link).

Flacco, 34, is under contract in each of the next three seasons at base salaries of $18.5MM, $20.25MM, and $24.25MM. None of those salaries are guaranteed, and Denver isn’t responsible for any of Flacco’s prorated signing bonus money. That total — $16MM — will now result in dead money on Baltimore’s salary cap.

The Broncos are now heavily invested at the quarterback position: as Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap tweets, Denver will rank second in cash spent on signal-callers and sixth in cap charges, assuming the club cuts 2018 starter Case Keenum and thus incurs $7MM in dead money. However, the Broncos should get a cap credit when/if Keenum signs elsewhere thanks to the offset language in his contract.

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Ravens To Trade Joe Flacco To Broncos

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.

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Ravens Notes: Flacco, Mosley, Smith, Culley

The Ravens and new general manager Eric DeCosta aren’t expected to make a decision on the fate of quarterback Joe Flacco until March, as Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk writes. The new league year begins in roughly six weeks, and while no trade can be made official until then, Baltimore could agree to deal Flacco to another club before the 2019 league year gets underway. Any pre-June 1 release or trade of Flacco will leave the Ravens with $16MM in dead money; a move after June 1 would put $8MM in dead money on Baltimore’s 2019 books and the same amount on their 2020 cap. In a PFR poll earlier this week, 71% of voters believed the Ravens will be able to find a trade partner for Flacco.

Here’s more from Baltimore:

  • Linebacker C.J. Mosley is perhaps the Ravens’ most important pending free agent, and DeCosta told reporters he “believe[s] in [his] heart” that Mosley will return in 2019, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Mosley, who has missed only two games during his five-year run in Baltimore, graded as Pro Football Focus‘ No. 22 linebacker in 2019. He’s reportedly begun contract talks with the Ravens, but head coach John Harbaugh admitted there are “limitations with money.” Luke Kuechly currently tops the inside linebacker market with a $12.4MM annual salary, while the second tier of the position sits between $10MM and $10.75MM.
  • DeCosta didn’t sound as positive when discussing the possibility of re-signing edge rusher Za’Darius Smith, tweets Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. “We don’t know what Za’Darius’ market is going to be,” said DeCosta. “He had a really nice year. Typically, the market is usually out of control for those guys, initially out of the gate.” Smith, 26, played the most defensive snaps of his career in 2019, managing 8.5 sacks in the process.
  • The Ravens have hired former Bills quarterbacks coach David Culley as assistant head coach/wide receivers/passing game coordinator, Baltimore announced this week. Culley’s addition will complete the Ravens’ offensive staff overhaul, which began when new offensive coordinator Greg Roman was promoted to take the place of Marty Mornhinweg, who rejected another position inside the organization. Culley, 63, overlapped with Ravens head coach Harbaugh on Andy Reid‘s Eagles staff, serving as Philadelphia’s wide receivers coach while Harbaugh led the club’s special teams and defensive backs

Poll: Will The Ravens Trade Joe Flacco?

The Ravens have their quarterback of the present and future in Lamar Jackson, but questions remain about their franchise QB of the past. The Ravens want to trade Joe Flacco in order to recoup something for the one-time Super Bowl champion, and they’re confident they can get a solid return, but not everyone in the football world is convinced.

At the end of the day, if I was picking what would happen, I would say that he will be released,” said former NFL GM Charley Casserly told Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. “I have a hard time believing somebody is going to trade for that contract with the uncertainty of Joe this late in his career.

Even with the dearth of quality QBs out there, there’s no doubt about it – Flacco’s contract is an issue. He has three years and $63MM to go on a deal that has no guaranteed money remaining, but still calls for a substantial cap number in 2019.

You have to take on the $18.5MM to make the trade, unless the Ravens are willing to eat more salary to facilitate a trade,” former agent Joel Corry told Zrebiec. “You’re going to have to really want to get rid of the guy and get a draft pick to start eating salary.”

On the plus side, there are potential suitors for 34-year-old. The Jaguars are reportedly mulling a Flacco trade, the Redskins probably need a QB to fill in for Alex Smith this year, and clubs like the Dolphins, Panthers, Broncos may or may not be in the QB market depending on how things break. And, this year’s free agent crop is no hot shakes outside of Nick Foles and Teddy Bridgewater. In theory, these teams and others could wait to see whether Flacco is released outright, but that might not be a gamble worth taking.

Ultimately, do you think the Ravens will find a trade for Flacco? Cast your vote here and back up your choice in the comment section below (poll link for app users):

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Jaguars Mulling Joe Flacco Trade

The Jaguars no longer view Blake Bortles as a viable option, and they are exploring the idea of adding another recently demoted passer.

Jaguars brass has discussed the prospect of bringing in Joe Flacco via trade, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. Flacco is open to this potential opportunity, per JLC.

They are also discussing Nick Foles and Ryan Tannehill, La Canfora notes. Foles is not certain to be available, though the current Eagles starter is expected to be. The Eagles are expected to attempt a trade, and the Dolphins are going to explore a Tannehill trade. Both could also hit free agency.

John Harbaugh has now openly broached the subject of a Flacco trade, saying the Ravens’ longtime starter will have a market. But rival GMs do not expect a team to part with anything more than a mid-round pick for the 33-year-old quarterback, La Canfora adds, though pointing out Tom Coughlin and new Ravens GM Eric DeCosta have a strong relationship that could accelerate a deal.

Flacco’s contract runs through 2021. He is due $18.5MM in base salary next season and is set to carry a $26.5MM cap number, though renegotiation could adjust the latter figure. The Jags are likely going to have to eat a $16.5MM dead-money hit on Bortles. The team is projected to be over the cap, so a Flacco trade would need to be accompanied by roster adjustments elsewhere.

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