The Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos officially agreed to a trade in principle Wednesday that will send veteran quarterback Joe Flacco to Denver.
ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the deal on Feb. 13. The Ravens are receiving a fourth-round pick, according to ESPN's Jamison Hensley. That is the Broncos original pick of the fourth round, not the pick acquired in the trade of Demaryius Thomas to the Houston Texans, per Mike Klis of 9News.
Field Yates of ESPN broke down Flacco's contract, noting the salary-cap implications for the Ravens:
Klis reported more on what went into Denver's decision to trade for Flacco:
After serving as Baltimore's starter in each of his first 10 NFL seasons, Flacco lost his starting job to rookie first-round pick Lamar Jackson last season. Jackson went 6-1 as a starter and led the Ravens to the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
Prior to getting injured and then replaced by Jackson, the 34-year-old Flacco was 4-5 with 2,465 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Since enjoying a career year statistically in 2014 with 3,986 passing yards, a personal-best 27 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 91.0 quarterback rating, Flacco has fallen off significantly. Over the past four seasons, he has thrown for 20 touchdowns just once and has a total of 46 interceptions.
While Flacco has never put up elite regular-season numbers as an NFL quarterback, he has a career record of 96-67 over 163 starts and led the Ravens to the playoffs on six occasions prior to Jackson replacing him.
For his career, Flacco has a 61.7 completion percentage with 38,245 yards, 212 touchdowns and 136 interceptions, making him the all-time franchise leader in nearly every major passing category.
Flacco is best known for leading the Ravens to a win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII to conclude the 2012 season. He was named Super Bowl MVP after throwing for 287 yards and three touchdowns.
During that particular playoff run, Flacco was dominant with 1,140 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions.
In 15 career playoff games, Flacco owns a 10-5 record. He has also thrown for 3,223 yards, 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, numbers that far eclipse his mediocre regular-season performance.
Flacco's arrival in Denver may lead to the departure of Case Keenum, who went 6-10 as a starter last season, throwing for 3,890 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
Heath Cummings of CBS Sports noted that Keenum and Flacco have put up comparable numbers since Keenum entered the league:
If the Broncos are unable to find a trade partner for Keenum, they may need to release him, which will count for $10 million in dead money against the salary cap.
The Broncos have the No. 10 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft, but bringing in a veteran like Flacco won't necessarily preclude them from taking a young quarterback such as Dwayne Haskins or Kyler Murray if they are available.
As Schefter pointed out, new Broncos head coach Vic Fangio's familiarity with Flacco likely played a role in the trade, as did that of former Broncos head coach and executive Gary Kubiak:
Since the retirement of Peyton Manning, the Broncos have struggled mightily to find a replacement. Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Keenum are among the quarterbacks Denver has cycled through in recent years.
It was clear that Flacco's time was up in Baltimore during its playoff loss to the Los Angeles Chargers when head coach John Harbaugh didn't put him in the game despite Jackson's struggles.
Flacco's performance in recent years suggests he may be nearing the end of the line, but with a supremely talented defense in place, Flacco may have enough around him in Denver to do some damage in the AFC West next season.