Vic Fangio will have a Super Bowl winning quarterback leading the charge in his first season as Denver Broncos head coach.
Breaking: Baltimore has agreement in principle to trade former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco to the Broncos, league sources told ESPN.
Trade cannot be processed until new NFL league year begins Wednesday, March 13. Teams prohibited from commenting on deal or terms surrounding it.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 13, 2019
The quarterback carousel in Denver has come to a stop, at least for the time being. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Broncos and Ravens have agreed to a deal that will send Joe Flacco to Denver. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport chimes in with a report that the Broncos are sending a pick in the middle rounds back to Baltimore. All things considered, that’s not a bad return for Flacco, a quarterback whose replacement led the team to the playoffs in his absence.
On the surface, Flacco is an upgrade at the position. He has a first-round pedigree, eight seasons with 3,000+ passing yards, and 15 games of postseason experience (with a 10-5 record in those games, to boot!). But a brief dive into the numbers sets off various warning sirens.
Flacco enters his age 34 season after an injury plagued 2018 and is only getting more expensive with salaries of $18.5 million and $20.3 million coming his way in 2019 and 2020, respectively. And while he has been a virtual lock for 3,000 passing yards, his production has come as a volume thrower. Flacco hasn’t thrown for at least 7.0 yards per attempt since 2014 and has averaged 6.3 yards per throw since the start of the 2015 season. Statistically speaking, there is a case to be made that Flacco isn’t much of an upgrade from incumbent Case Keenum, whose 6.9 yards per attempted throw beats out Flacco’s numbers.
Speaking of Keenum:
The #Broncos will now shop QB Case Keenum, who is guaranteed $7M in 2019, I’m told. If they can’t, it’s either a massive paycut or a straight up release. He’d be a top backup.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 13, 2019
Now that the Broncos have Flacco on the way, they can begin shopping a similar player making a fraction of the price to teams in search of a short-term bridge quarterback option or possible backup. Once Keenum is out the door, that will put an end to his reign as the solution to Denver’s quarterbacking problems.
That is, of course, until the NFL Draft rolls around and the team selects its potential franchise quarterback in April.
DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline has the Broncos taking Missouri’s Drew Lock with the 10th pick in the upcoming draft, something the signs have been indicating since the Shrine Game. That’s some early draft-related smoke. But you know what they say … Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And if anyone knows what it looks like for the young draft pick with upside to take over for the aging veteran on the downside of his career, it’s probably Fangio after watching the transition from Mike Glennon to Mitch Trubisky.
For what it’s worth, this was the result the last time Flacco threw a pass in Denver:
That touchdown helped eliminate the heavily favored Broncos and pushed Peyton Manning’s quest for a second Super Bowl back another season. And to rub salt in the wound, Flacco’s Ravens would go on to hoist the Lombardi Trophy that season with the quarterback winning Super Bowl MVP honors. For the Broncos’ sake, I hope time heals all wounds.
Between the Fangio connection and the Broncos being on the Bears’ schedule in 2019, we have ample reason to keep our eyes on what happens out by the Rocky Mountains this year.