It was only a matter of where Joe Flacco would land this offseason, and the Denver Broncos have agree to a trade.
With Lamar Jackson stepping in and turning the Ravens’ season around in 2018, the clock was ticking on Joe Flacco’s time in Baltimore. The move can’t be official until the start of the new league year on March 13, but according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter the Denver Broncos have agreed in principle to trade for the former Super Bowl MVP.
The Broncos have had back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since the early 1970s, due in part to shortcomings under center. Case Keenum turned back into the career backup he is last year, and general manager John Elway whiffed big on Paxton Lynch in the first round of the 2016 draft.
Keenum has one year left on the deal he signed with the Broncos last year, but the financials aren’t so prohibitive that he couldn’t be cut this offseason ($11 million in cap savings, $10 million in dead money). Denver is also in position to draft a quarterback with the 10th overall pick in April’s draft, and Elway is reportedly a fan of Missouri’s Drew Lock.
Flacco is set to make $18.5 million in base salary this year. So without an agreement on a pay cut, something will have to give.
The Ravens will clear $10.5 million in cap space by trading Flacco, while also taking on $16 million in dead money. What they’ll get in the deal is unknown at this point, since the teams can’t comment on the trade or the terms right now, but Schefter’s sources point to a mid-round pick heading to Baltimore.
Elway has missed on enough quarterbacks that he’s firmly on the hot seat, even with the uncertainty surrounding the Broncos’ ownership situation. Flacco is not a substantial upgrade over Keenum, but trading for him is a move rooted in competing for a playoff spot in 2019 while a young quarterback is groomed.