Joe Flacco ‘almost definitely’ moving on, could join Browns rival

Joe Flacco is set for free agency and could wind up joining one of the Cleveland Browns top rivals

Cleveland Browns, Joe Flacco
Cleveland Browns, Joe Flacco / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After sitting at home for several months, Joe Flacco finally got a call late in the season. With Deshaun Watson out due to a broken bone in his shoulder, the Cleveland Browns brought in the former Baltimore Ravens signal-caller. Flacco turned back the clock as he threw for 1,616 yards with 13 touchdowns.

More importantly, the Browns were 4-1 with him as their starter. His performance was strong enough to land him the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award — and it might be enough to lead to his departure.

While Cleveland fans would love for Flacco to return — and general manager Andrew Berry has said the same — it won’t be that easy. Flacco proved he can still throw for 300 yards per game and might not want to return to a team where his only path to the field is another injury. That’s why Zac Jackson of the Athletic believes the veteran is “almost definitely” gone in free agency.

Browns could lose Joe Flacco to AFC North rival

If Flacco prefers to land with a team where he can compete for a starting job, the Pittsburgh Steelers make a lot of sense. As Joe Clark of Steelers Depot points out, Flacco would be able to compete for a starting spot against Kenny Pickett. Clark adds that Pittsburgh has been tied to Ryan Tannehill, who has experience with new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, but says the franchise should have interest since Flacco has more recent success.

With Deshaun Watson entrenched as the starter, the Browns should be fine — barring another injury. Despite continued predictions of failure for Watson, the Browns were 4-1 when he played the full game and 5-1 in games he started. He also torched the Baltimore Ravens defense in his final start, dropping 33 points on the same defense that held the Kansas City Chiefs to 17 in the AFC Championship Game.

Their only question will be how comfortable they are with Dorian Thompson-Robinson as the primary backup. He was showing signs of improvement before Flacco took over, so he shouldn’t be counted out. Still, the Browns might prefer a veteran quarterback being there as well given the revolving door they had in 2023.

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