The Denver’s Broncos favorite son, President and GM John Elway traded for Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco early Wednesday. Flacco, a former Super Bowl MVP, spent 11 seasons with the Ravens. The Ravens officially turn the page on the Flacco era and are now officially Lamar Jackson’s team. Meanwhile for the Broncos, they bring in a QB with a Super Bowl title and a guy who’s played 16 games in 9 of his 11 seasons in the NFL. John Elway is hoping that the he can get one more postseason run out of Flacco like the one he orchestrated against Elway’s Broncos back in 2012 with the Mile High Miracle. Flacco parlayed that Super Bowl run, throwing 11 TD’s and 0 interceptions, into a monster 6 year $120.6 million contract. Flacco betting on himself in 2012 paid off big time for the former 1st round pick out of Delaware. But ever since that Super Bowl the Ravens only made it back to the playoffs once in his time as QB back in 2014. Flacco, who’s in the midst of a 3 year extension worth over $66 million, is owed $18.5 million this upcoming season. According to multiple reports, Flacco’s contract will not be restructured this upcoming season.
Which brings us back to Elway. For all of his success on the field as a Hall of Fame QB, Elway has not been successful at finding the right QB for his Denver Broncos football team. Don’t even get me started on Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian or his latest flop Case Keenum whom he signed to a 2 year $36 million contract ($25 million guaranteed) in 2018. Yes, Elway brought Peyton Manning and his trick neck in 2012 and got enough out him to get two Super Bowl appearances and 1 title out of him in 2015. Since then the Broncos have been a dumpster fire at the QB position. Not to mention firing Vance Joseph after only 2 seasons and bringing in former Chicago Bears DC Van Fangio in as the new HC back in January. Elway’s time in Denver has been well…complicated.
His inability to find a quarterback has handcuffed a perennially top flight defense and wasted some of the prime years of Von Miller. Furthermore, his poor judgment and evaluation of quarterback talent and risk taking on one hit wonders like Keenum have now forced him to trade for Flacco without any real long term solution. With a weak QB class in the 2019 NFL Draft it makes since to bring in Flacco in attempt to stabilize the position though. Furthermore, Flacco’s familiarity with Fangio and Gary Kubiak make it more of a fit than what meets the eye. Still Elway must develop a long term solution at the quarterback position instead of the shoddy patchwork job he has done since Manning has retired.
Flacco represents experience and availability which are paramount at the QB position, but his steady decline statistically is of concern for the 34 year old. He has seen his passing yards, TD’s and completion percentage decline each of the last two seasons and of course was benched in favor of Lamar Jackson who subsequently led the Ravens to the playoffs. Furthermore, Flacco dealt with back injuries in 2018 and for any player that is of significant concern especially with his age and decline in production. Denver saw the emergence of Philip Lindsey, the un-drafted rookie out of Colorado, be selected to the pro bowl. While the defense finished 5th in defensive DVOA in 2018.
So for the Broncos there is some positivity as they look to make a deep playoff run in 2019, especially now that they have someone of the experience of Flacco. So now begins the process of either shopping or keeping Keenum as an expensive back up as he is fully guaranteed $7 million this season. For Elway he gets another shot with an aging QB to try and squeeze whatever Mile High juice he can out of Flacco, a la Manning circa 2012. For Flacco it’s a fresh start where he can look to have a second half career renaissance act like the man he defeated en route to his only Super Bowl. If so, he will provide John Elway another Super Bowl treat instead of another trick when it comes to finding QB’s.