In a very predictable and now official transaction, the Cleveland Browns have signed former Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Flacco, adding him to their Practice Squad on Monday, Nov. 20.
ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the final news late Sunday. Flacco, who worked out with the Browns last Friday, initially left without a deal, but both parties eventually agreed on the signing as everybody knew in advance. The NFL confirmed the news later on Sunday.
The decision to bring in Flacco is seen as a low-key move mostly geared toward providing the Browns with a seasoned veteran to support rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com notes that Flacco will serve as a mentor to rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson in a backup role.
Aaccording to Kay Cabot, Flacco will join the PS on Monday under that mentor role, although he "can play if needed."
Following Deshaun Watson's season-ending shoulder fracture suffered in Week 10, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski opted for Thompson-Robinson over P.J. Walker for their divisional matchup against the Steelers on Sunday.
While the decision proved successful as Thompson-Robinson led the team to a 13–10 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers, it is obvious that the Browns needed someone to fill that vacant QB3 role with the potential to end the season starting games if DTR flops.
Some concerns about the young quarterback's limited downfield passing game were reported on Sunday, making the signing of Flacco much more important for the Browns just in case DTR's development stalls down the road, let alone if the Browns make the postseason and need a seasoned vet leading the team.
Flacco, who started four games for the New York Jets last season, also has nine wins as a starter at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Obviously, being the former Baltimore Ravens player he is, Flacco's familiarity with the AFC North could prove to be a fantastic asset in this new adventure.
While Flacco continues to learn the Browns' offensive system, the expectation is for Thompson-Robinson to maintain his starting position. The team's focus remains on the rookie's development, but Flacco will most probably end the season (regular and post) as the Browns starter.
A decorated Raven, Flacco spent 11 seasons with Baltimore, earning Super Bowl MVP honors in 2012, before moving on to play for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets.
It will be odd as hell to watch Flacco clad in a Browns jersey, Flacco's impressive career statistics include a 61.6% completion rate, 42,320 yards, 232 touchdowns, and 147 interceptions, so we won't be mad at him.
The Ravens have already played their two seasonal games against the Browns so the only way both franchises will face each other, with Flacco going against his former franchise, would be in an eventual postseason matchup in January.