Browns utterly disrespect Joe Flacco after saving their season

Not a great look from Cleveland.

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans / Tim Warner/GettyImages

It's been a wild year for Joe Flacco.

After spending most of the 2023 season without a gig, Flacco – who was 38 at the time and in his 16th NFL season – got a call from the Browns and signed with the team in mid-December. Despite remaining in contention (they were 8-5 and the AFCs 5th seed at the time), the Browns were looking for a new option after Deshaun Watson, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, and PJ Walker all dealt with injuries.

Flacco, you probably remember, then proceeded to go 4-1 over the final month of the season, throwing for 1600+ yards and 13 touchdowns in wins over the Jaguars, Bears, Texans, and Jets. The magic run came to an end in the Wild Card loss at Houston, but Flacco proved he was still a viable option for teams looking for quarterback insurance. Heading into 2024, a return to the Browns – in a backup role – made all the sense in the world.

Except, that didn't happen. Cleveland decided to sign former Saints QB Jameis Winston to a one-year deal, and now Flacco's back on the free agent market after the Browns reportedly declined to even engage him in contract negotiations.

Yikes! The move was not met with a lot of understanding as some in Cleveland jumped to the suspicions there were sinister reasons behind the decision to not bring back Flacco. The thought, to them at least, was that the Browns didn't want him to return because the moment that Watson struggled again – which, given how he's played since he came to Cleveland, feels likely – that the team would have another (very expensive) quarterback controversy on their hands. Browns reporter was quick to squash that idea, saying on Tuesday that "the Browns just chose Jameis Winston over Joe Flacco. I don't think it's anymore complicated than that."

Still, that didn't stop Browns fans from being bummed over the decision. Anger about backup quarterback decisions in March: that's what NFL free agency is all about.