Joe Flacco was sure to have multiple suitors, for better or worse, but the Denver Broncos saved the Washington Redskins from a crippling commitment.
Once it was inevitable he’d be leaving the Baltimore Ravens, it was clear multiple teams would be interested in Joe Flacco. The Denver Broncos swooped in with a trade agreement, but according to Albert Breer of The MMQB, the Washington Redskins also had interest in Flacco.
After a career-altering leg in injury last season, Alex Smith is all but certain to not play next season and anything after that is a big question mark. When the Redskins acquired him from the Kansas City Chiefs last offseason, they also signed him to a four-year, $94 million contract extension. Shy of Smith announcing his retirement, the Redskins are locked into keeping him for a least the next two seasons before a dead money hit attached to cutting him drops. It’s a foregone conclusion that Smith’s $16 million salary for 2020 will become fully guaranteed, upon his being on the roster on the fifth day of the upcoming new league year.
Flacco is due to make base salaries of $18.5 million in 2019, $20.25 million in 2020 and $24.25 million in 2021. So barring a restructuring of his deal, in order to reduce a $26.5 million cap hit (via Over The Cap), Washington would have had $46.9 million in cap space allocated just to Flacco and Smith this year.
With the exception of a virtually flawless run to Super Bowl MVP after the 2012 season, Flacco has been a mediocre quarterback. It’s a stretch to say he can’t succeed in the right situation, but injuries have also become an issue in recent years.
Broncos general manager John Elway has struggled to find a serviceable quarterback for years now. He’s possibly taking his last shots at it before his own job security becomes a real question, starting with the trade for Flacco along with the likelihood of drafting a signal caller in April.
If the Redskins were ready with a trade offer for Flacco, albeit a month before the league year starts, it appears the Broncos jumped them in line.
But when it comes down to it, Washington is better served keeping Colt McCoy or targeting a free agent quarterback like Tyrod Taylor or Teddy Bridgewater as they also should consider drafting someone in April. So the Broncos saved them from what would have been a substantial mistake, in terms of cap space and actual talent/upside under center while they wait for any positive news on Smith’s outlook.