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Joe Flacco trade is just one piece of 2019 puzzle

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Where the Flacco trade makes the most sense for the Broncos is best seen through a wide lens.

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Good morning, Broncos Country!

Since the news of the Joe Flacco trade, responses have run the gamut.

As I told Adam Malnati on the latest MHR Radio Podcast (Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher), and the guys on 1st & 10 @ 10 on Friday, it’s too early to know right now. This is the first piece of the player acquisition puzzle, so let’s see what other pieces John Elway and the Denver Broncos add.

The Broncos have already added huge pieces in Vic Fangio and his coaching staff. Flacco is the next big piece, whether that’s good or bad on the field, time will tell. It’s clear Flacco is a better fit for what Fangio and new offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello want to do. In terms of the scheme fit, that gets me excited. Flacco’s best year came in 2014 when Gary Kubiak was his offensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens. Scangarello runs a cousin offense to what Kubiak does, so it makes sense. Fangio also coached two seasons (2008-09) in Baltimore when Flacco was the quarterback, so there’s that connection.

But where the Flacco trade makes the most sense is best seen through a wide lens.

Prior to the deal with the Ravens, Elway and Denver had to get a quarterback in the NFL Draft. That means moving up to ensure you get your guy (Drew Lock). Also remember that 2019 is the final year of Case Keenum’s contract. So, yeah, the Broncos had to get a quarterback.

With the trade for Flacco, which isn’t complete until March 13, the Broncos now have flexibility. They aren’t pigeonholed. Now, they can see how the board falls in the first five or seven picks and go from there. If Lock falls, they get him. If a team moves up to get him, that increases the odds Denver gets a player like Devin White or Ed Oliver, and they put the attention on quarterback in 2020.

That’s not to say Elway and the Broncos won’t still trade up or draft a quarterback now with Flacco in the mix. What it does is give them more flexibility. Speaking of which, this move does that for the salary cap as well. After this season, Flacco carries no dead/guaranteed money. So if he doesn’t play well, they move on. If he does, all the better.

What’s also clear from this move for Flacco is that Elway not only thinks Denver can compete in the AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs, but in the AFC. That means Elway isn’t done adding pieces to the 2019 puzzle. From C.J. Mosley and Adrian Amos to Ja’Wuan James and Ramon Foster. And while I get that it’s been reported Emmanuel Sanders will have his contract option picked up, it still hasn’t happened yet. That leaves open the Antonio Brown rumors. Brown and Flacco? That would be a lot of fun. I don’t think a move for Brown will happen, but Elway thinks his team can compete, so it can’t be ruled out.

Patience is a dirty word. It always has been. But in this sense, it’s the most crucial word when it comes the Broncos.

Let’s see what other pieces Elway adds to the 2019 puzzle and go from there. It might turn out better than you think ... or not. At the very least, Denver now has flexibility, and that’s never a bad thing.

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