A man who was once untouchable in Baltimore and who led the Ravens to a Super Bowl XLVII victory (their second in 12 years) has officially been traded. Joe Flacco was acquired on Wednesday by the Denver Broncos in exchange for a fourth-round pick. The source wished to remain anonymous, as trades cannot be announced until mid-March at the beginning of the football year.
Beginning of the End
The beginning of the end for Flacco was the play of rookie sensation Lamar Jackson. Jackson is a young, modern, mobile quarterback who is far and away the best runner at his position (Mitch Trubisky is the only one even close). He took over and nearly led the Ravens to the playoffs after Flacco’s injury.
For Denver, this move signals that they are firmly in “win now” mode. Trading draft capital for a proven starter signals that they have no intention of rebuilding, despite missing the playoffs. Denver has a talented young roster with lots of experience (particularly on defense), and they feel that they can compete with the rest of the AFC. Baltimore also has every reason to believe that they can compete in the AFC with Jackson at the helm. The difference is that they now have more money to spend in free agency, along with an additional draft pick to build depth.
Flacco was drafted in 2008 by the Ravens and has spent his entire ten years in the league there. Despite being labeled a “reach” coming out of Delaware, Flacco has had a successful career in Baltimore thus far. It will be interesting to see how he fits with the playmakers in Denver, but one thing is for sure: he will be an improvement over Case Keenum. Keenum isn’t the biggest bust that the Broncos have had since Peyton Manning’s departure, but he hasn’t been as good as they expected him to be.
What’s to Be
If Flacco is as good as he was in Baltimore, the Broncos should be a good value pick against the AFC elite this coming season, particularly at home (they host both the Chiefs and the Chargers). They also host the Bears, Lions, Raiders, Titans, and Jaguars.