This had to have been hard for him to say with a straight face, but when Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway was asked yesterday about their decision to make the trade for former Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco rather than continue to work with Case Keenum, who took the Minnesota Vikings to the playoffs in 2017, he described Flacco as “a perfect fit”.
While he said that the decision between Flacco and Keenum was hard he pointed out that Flacco has won a good number of postseason football games, including a Super Bowl. He also felt that at 34 years old he still has a lot of football left to play.
Both Elway and new Broncos Head Coach Vic Fangio emphasized his ability to “get the ball downfield”, or as Pittsburgh Steelers like to call it, the DPI Special. Arguably his most famous throw of all time was a virtual Hail Mary pass over the head of Broncos safety Mike Adams to Jacoby Jones in the 2012 postseason in a game they otherwise would have lost, and consequently never won the Super Bowl.
A 2008 first-round pick of the Ravens, Flacco was an instant starter who helped command his team to instant success. They reached the AFC Championship game that year as a Wildcard team before losing to the Steelers.
In fact, the Ravens reached the postseason, including twice as division winners, in each of Flacco’s first five seasons, winning at least one playoff game every year, reaching the AFC Championship game three times, and, in that final season in 2012, claiming the organization’s second Super Bowl title.
After that, things have not been so great. With him as their primary starter, the Ravens only posted two winning records over the next five years, reaching the playoffs only once, and he posted an overall losing record.
That prompted the team to draft Lamar Jackson, who took over the starting job full-time following an injury suffered by Flacco after the first nine games, during which they went 4-5. Baltimore went 6-1 in the final seven games with Jackson, reaching the postseason with a Week 17 victory.
With the Ravens fully committing to Jackson as their future, Flacco became very must expendable, and his departure would create a substantial cap relief, which helped them sign Earl Thomas in free agency, though on the flip side they also lost C.J. Mosley, John Brown, Terrell Suggs, and Za’Darius Smith, and also had to release Eric Weddle.
Frankly, it was clear for a few years that Flacco was not even the same quarterback that he was earlier in his career, and I still find myself surprised that they found a taker for him. I don’t know that he represents much of an upgrade over Keenum, but I guess we’ll find out—as will Elway and Vangio.