Joe Flacco’s Contract Structure Helps Explain Broncos Trade

Joe Flacco

Getty Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco

When the Denver Broncos opted to reportedly trade for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, it was viewed as somewhat of a head-scratching decision. After all, the team already has one expensive signal-caller under contract in Case Keenum, although he’s only locked in for one more season.

The situation with Flacco is an interesting one, as he was supplanted as the starter in Baltimore by Lamar Jackson and was set to be moved or released this offseason. So, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, the two teams agreed on a deal, but it can’t be processed until the new league year begins on Wednesday, March 13.

Although adding a second expensive quarterback to the roster doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense, Flacco’s deal is set up in a way that could benefit the Broncos. It allows them enough time to find their potential quarterback of the future and have some level of safety when Keenum’s deal is over following this season.

Joe Flacco’s Contract

As Over The Cap details, Flacco has a cap number of $26.5 million this year, $28.25 next year and $24.25 in 2021. There’s no question those are big numbers in each season and it’s easy to argue that Flacco isn’t playing at a level worth that type of money. But the Broncos can get out of the deal moving forward if they choose to.

As ESPN’s Adam Schefter detailed, Flacco has no guaranteed money left on his current deal, which is beneficial for the team’s long-term outlook.

When the deal is completed, the Ravens will save $10.5 million in cap space. However, they will carry $16 million in dead money on their 2019 cap.

Flacco, 34, has no more guaranteed money on his contract. His contract carries base salaries of $18.5 million for 2019, $20.25 million in 2020 and $24.25 million in 2021.

Broncos’ Future Outlook

With Keenum’s deal expiring after 2019, the Broncos have added a quarterback who provides a one-year gap (albeit, an expensive one), to cover them at the position until they find their future. The 2019 NFL Draft could provide Denver a number of potential options, even outside of the first or second rounds. So while John Elway and company look to the draft and evaluate options who can be more than just one or two-year fillers, Flacco can hold down the fort.

Ideally, the Broncos would find a quarterback in this draft class and be able to part with Flacco next offseason. In turn, it would free up a massive amount of cap space and leave the team with a somewhat inexpensive young signal-caller to build their offense around. If that doesn’t prove to be the case and a new quarterback needs another season, Denver can let him sit behind Flacco and learn, potentially giving him an entire year to do so.

READ NEXT: Broncos QB Depth Chart After Joe Flacco Trade Creates Questions

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