Ravens Trade Joe Flacco to Broncos
The Joe Flacco era in Baltimore unofficially came to an end near the end of last season, but it has now officially concluded. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Baltimore Ravens have decided to trade their former franchise quarterback to the Denver Broncos. The official terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed, but the Broncos are expected to send a mid-round draft pick back to Baltimore.
The trade will not become official until the NFL’s new league year gets underway on March 13. By rule, the Ravens and Broncos are prohibited from publicly commenting on the trade until then.
The deal means that the Ravens will officially move forward with Lamar Jackson as their No. 1 quarterback. Jackson took over for Flacco just past the midway point of last season when Flacco was forced to miss time with an injury. Jackson fared pretty well in Flacco’s absence, and the former Super Bowl MVP was demoted after returning from his injury.
The trade will save the Ravens $10.5 million in cap space. However, they will also carry $16 million worth of dead money against the cap for next season.
The Broncos have been in search of a capable starting quarterback since Peyton Manning retired following the team’s win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. General manager John Elway has cycled through a number of quarterbacks since Manning’s retirement, but none of the replacements have proven successful.
Denver infamously drafted former Memphis QB Paxton Lynch in the first round of the 2016 draft. Lynch went on to start just four games for the Broncos over the course of his two seasons with the team before being cut before the beginning of last year. Last month, Lynch signed a deal with the Seattle Seahawks.
Denver signed former Vikings quarterback Case Keenum prior to last season. Keenum inked a two-year deal worth $36 million with the Broncos, but he struggled in his first campaign as the starter. With the Flacco acquisition, the Broncos are expected to cut Keenum, who was originally scheduled to make $18 million next season. Just $7 million of his salary was guaranteed, and Denver will carry $10 million worth of dead money against the cap next season once Keenum is officially released.
Keenum threw 15 interceptions in his lone season in Denver, which was tied for the second-most in the league.
Denver’s Super Bowl Odds
While Flacco does have a ring after leading the Ravens to a win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, his presence is not expected to lift the Broncos to new heights. While the former first-round pick is a likely improvement over the quarterbacks the Broncos have started in recent years, he is still likely in the twilight of his career.
Denver is currently listed at +5000 by MyBookie to win Super Bowl 54. The Broncos have missed the playoffs in each of the three years since their aforementioned victory in Super Bowl 50. Denver went just 6-10 last season and finished in third place in the AFC West. Only the Raiders (+12000) have worse Super Bowl odds among the four teams in Denver’s division.
Flacco, who has never been named to a Pro Bowl, completed 61.2 percent of his throws across nine games last season. He amassed 2,465 yards through the air with 12 touchdowns accompanied by six interceptions. Prior to last season, Flacco had started all 16 games in all but one campaign since being drafted by the Ravens out of Delaware in 2008.
Despite undergoing a midseason quarterback change, the Ravens managed to squeak their way into the playoffs last season. Jackson will enter next year with big expectations after being Baltimore’s first-round pick out of Louisville last spring. His performance was shaky overall, but he showed flashes. Jackson completed 92 of his 158 attempts as a starter last year for 1,114 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.
The Ravens will be happy to utilize Jackson’s prowess in the running game as well. Jackson rushed for 556 yards on just 119 attempts as the starter with another four scores. He struggled in the Ravens’ Wild Card Round loss to the L.A. Chargers, but the future is bright.
The Ravens are listed at +2800 to win Super Bowl 54 next season. Oddsmakers likely assumed Jackson would begin the year as the starter ahead of Flacco, so Baltimore’s odds did not shift following Wednesday’s trade.
Quarterback Market Shuffling
The Broncos hold the No. 10 pick in the upcoming NFL draft, but this move makes it unlikely that Denver selects a quarterback in the first round. There is a major demand for quarterbacks this offseason with a number of teams reportedly seeking new signal-callers.
The Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington Redskins, and New York Giants are teams that may have interest in finding new quarterbacks soon. The high demand was one of the main reasons Elway jumped at the chance to acquire Flacco from the Ravens. Nick Foles, another former Super Bowl MVP, Ryan Tannehill, and Tyrod Taylor are some of the more well-known quarterbacks expected to find new teams this offseason.
The 34-year-old Flacco has no guaranteed money remaining on his current contract. However, his deal does carry a cap hit of over $18 million for next season, $20 million for 2020, and over $24 million in 2021.
New Broncos head coach Vic Fangio was an assistant on the Ravens staff from 2006 through 2009, so he already has a history with Flacco.
Assuming he begins next season as the starter, Flacco will be the Broncos’ fifth starting quarterback over the last two seasons. Lynch, Keenum, Trevor Siemian, and Brock Osweiler were the others.
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