The Denver Broncos agreed to a trade for Joe Flacco. Here’s why the Ravens won the trade:
The Baltimore Ravens could meet the Denver Broncos in the playoffs in 2019 and in this scenario the Ravens still won the trade. The Ravens were parting with Joe Flacco one way or another. The Broncos gave them their preferred way out of the Flacco era and the Broncos just got a stop gap at quarterback.
Flacco is better than he gets credit for. He’s been a solid quarterback most of his career, while he gets labeled a bad quarterback. If Flacco never won a Super Bowl and never broke the bank his reputation would actually be better around the NFL. When he got what was at the time the richest quarterback deal, it set expectations that he could and would never meet.
If Flacco never broke through and won it all, pundits would call him one of the best quarterbacks never to win a ring. He would not in the ring-less company of Dan Marino and Jim Kelly, but Flacco would fit right in a grouping with guys like Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair and Phillip Rivers. Flacco would still be considered the best quarterback of his team’s history.
Flacco won a Super Bowl and his playoff performance was the outlier of his career. It’s also what the money and expectations were based on. There is a difference between being horrible and just not measuring up to your contract, and Flacco is the best example of that.
Flacco had a great 2014 season. In 2016 and 2017 he was the leader of a team that won eight and nine games respectively. If a couple of things went differently, he could have had two more playoff trips on his resume.
The point isn’t that the Ravens pulled a fast one on John Elway. The Broncos look like a team that is a reliable quarterback away from going to the playoffs. With two good running backs and a star studded defense, Flacco can win games in Denver. The reason the Ravens won the trade is because the Ravens are starting a new era while the Broncos are trying to make an average team get to the postseason.
Denver isn’t solving a problem here. The best case scenario for the Broncos is that Flacco gives them two to three good years while they look for the right quarterback. Flacco gives them a strong armed quarterback who has won a lot of playoff games. Flacco gets a change of scenery and a new chance, Elway gets another bandage over the team’s biggest weakness. Some would argue that Flacco and Keenum are on the same plane, but Flacco looks to be an upgrade. One way or another a fourth round pick was a steal for Flacco.
The Ravens solved a problem and doing so will give them a chance to get things done. They took a big hit of dead money in the trade, but they saved a lot more than they would have by releasing Flacco. The excuse of Flacco’s contract is gone after this upcoming season and Lamar Jackson is on a rookie deal. The Ravens get a fresh start and can do a lot of building around Jackson. The Ravens got a deal they couldn’t pass up. Even if these two teams meet in the postseason, accomplishing Elway’s short-term goal, the Ravens won this trade.