Last offseason, the NFL got a shock on January 31st with a quarterback trade. The Kansas City Chiefs agreed traded Alex Smith to Washington, paving the way for Patrick Mahomes to start for the Chiefs. That decision went well for Andy Reid’s team, as Mahomes just was named the league’s MVP for the 2018 season.
We’ll see if the first big move of 2019 works out as well.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Joe Flacco is the first player on the move this offseason via trade. Schefter reports that the Baltimore Ravens have agreed to trade Flacco to the Denver Broncos, which will officially result in Lamar Jackson being the Ravens’ starter moving forward.
The Broncos hold some exciting picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. Denver currently holds the 10th overall pick, along with picks number 41 and 71 overall in the draft’s second day. However, Flacco will reportedly come in exchange for a mid-round draft pick, not one of those early selections.
As for Flacco, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that he will likely restructure his contract in Denver. Flacco is due $18.5 million in base salary this season, but due to signing bonus accrual the trade will cost the Ravens a $16 million dead money charge on their salary cap and save them $10.5 million in cap space. Meanwhile, Denver just signed Case Keenum to a two-year, $36 million deal last offseason; if GM John Elway cuts him, that would result in $10 million in dead money for them, but a savings of $11 million.
This is the first major domino to fall in the trade market this year. If the Broncos did trade away their first-round pick, that would put Baltimore two picks ahead of the Green Bay Packers, rather than a quarterback-needy Broncos franchise. However, with the reports that Denver will hold on to #10, they could still prioritize a signal-caller in April, as Flacco surely will not be a long-term answer. Some early reports have them high on Missouri’s Drew Lock.
Over the past four seasons, Flacco has a passer rating of 82.7, throwing 64 touchdowns against 46 interceptions and averaging just 6.3 yards per attempt.