Browns Eyeing Extension for QB Amid Watson Uncertainty

The Cleveland Browns will look to keep Joe Flacco around with an extension.

Getty Images The Cleveland Browns will look to keep Joe Flacco around with an extension.

The Cleveland Browns are interested in extending veteran quarterback Joe Flacco before he becomes a free agent this offseason.

Flacco created a free agent market for himself thanks to his play with the Browns last season. He was initially signed to the practice squad on November 20 but quickly found himself as the starter. From Week 13 on, Flacco led the NFL in passing yards (323.2 per game) and added 13 touchdown passes.

Flacco is 39 years old and has limited time left. He’ll likely pursue a starting opportunity but the Browns would like him back. Mary Kay Cabot of beleives Cleveland could look to get an extension done to prevent him from reaching free agency.

“I certainly think the Browns will try to extend Flacco’s contract before he hits the market on March 13, but he’ll also want to test the waters and see what’s out there,” Cabot wrote in her latest Q&A column on February 18. “He’ll get more interest this offseason than he did last year, when he had no legitimate offers until the Browns called after Deshaun Watson suffered the fractured shoulder socket in Week 10.”

Other insiders are not so bullish on a potential Flacco return. Zac Jackson of The Athletic beleives Flacco is “defintley moving on” with Watson returning.

There is some uncertainty around Watson’s health. He’s coming back from a serious shoulder injury. He’s played in just 12 games over two seasons since landing with the Browns via a blockbuster trade.

Browns to Pursue Veteran Backup

If Joe Flacco does not return, Jacoby Brissett could be an option for the Browns.

Getty ImagesIf Joe Flacco does not return, Jacoby Brissett could be an option for the Browns.

The Browns had just about everything go wrong at the quarterback position until Flacco came along. Watson missed time with an injured shoulder — twice — and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson also saw his season end early. In all, the Browns started five different quarterbacks.

Browns general manager Andrew Berry made it clear during his end-of-season press conference that backup quarterback is a position they value.

“In terms of the quarterback room, we’ve always valued the quarterback position. I think probably if you look at our history over the last four seasons, we’ve always been towards the top of the league in backup quarterback expenditures or resources,” Berry said. “I believe that backup quarterback really is a top 30 position on the roster and we do believe in carrying three, and that’s something that we’ll probably do moving forward.”

If Flacco doesn’t return some other options the Browns could pursue include familiar faces like Jacoby Brissett, Joshua Dobbs, per Cabot.

Joe Flacco Open to Returning to Browns

Joe Flacco is interested in staying with the Browns.

Getty ImagesJoe Flacco is interested in staying with the Browns.

Considering the circumstances, a return to the Browns may be unlikely for Flacco. However, the former Super Bowl MVP hasn’t completely shut down the notion of being back in Cleveland.

“I’m going to take my time as always, but it was one of the best experiences of my life,” Flacco told on February 8. “I love it there, so definitely want to (come back).”

With the lack of opportunties, Flacco was on the verge of retirement last season. However, he’s not planning on stepping away from the game just yet.

“I’m not riding off into any sunset,” Flacco told “It’s not my style. I don’t care how ugly it gets, I want to be playing until maybe it does get ugly. I want to be dragged off that field. Having said that, it may not be up to me. It took until week whatever for me to even be on a team this year. I understand that not all of those decisions are made by me. But I think I’m going to be back out there next year, and take it day by day.”

Watson is expected to be ready for training camp after his season-ending shoulder injury. Thompson-Robinson is also under contract for next season.

Read More