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Trade for Joe Flacco is Elway hitting the “pause” button

The Broncos traded for Joe Flacco to kick off the free agency period of the 2019 NFL are my thoughts on what this means for the Broncos and what direction Elway is taking this team

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Carolina Panthers Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos now have a new quarterback as their premier free agency move of the 2019 NFL season. You read Mile High Report, so you already know this and already knew it was happening weeks before it was announced to the rest of the world.

But today I want to talk a little more about what this move means for the Broncos in the 2019 NFL Draft and free agency, what John Elway is doing with the team, and what you can look forward to in the 2019 season from the Bronco offense.

Free agency and the draft...what does this move mean?

We’ve already seen part of what this means in free agency: the team is going to plug serious holes with veterans that can hold it down in very important positions where the team is lacking.

We’ve addressed CB (one of the biggest needs the team had going into this season) and RT (a position I didn’t see as dire until Billy Turner left for greener pastures). Both of these shore up the biggest holes on both sides of the ball not counting of course QB.

But what is next?

The team still needs a pass catching Tight End, a nose tackle, a ILB, and another CB in a big way. If the team wants to make Flacco comfortable, they will in all likelihood sign a tight end who has some experience in the NFL rather than try to make it work only with a rookie.

All the other positions are guys you can get in the draft, though it really does pigeon hole the Broncos into drafting for need rather than taking the best player available (they will say that about every guy they draft, but don’t buy the bull...these 3 positions will be addressed before we get to training camp)

John Elway believes in winning from now on

One of the most maddening things about being a Bronco fan over the past 4 years is that ever since the Super Bowl 50 victory, the John Elway has not done a whole heck of a lot to rebuild itself on the offensive side of the ball, especially at QB.

Sure, he’s changed Offensive Coordinators. He’s also changed QBs as well in many forms and ways that has provided endless humor to most NFL fans (Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and Case Keenum...really!?).

Broncos Country has been clamoring for a real QB since Peyton Manning hung them up after that magical 2015 season.

Elway has waxed poetic about how hard it is to find a QB.

This move from Case Keenum to Joe Flacco though to me looks like a very big statement that Elway believes that success can only be achieved with a veteran QB. It is his go-to move after Tebow. It was his go-to move after Siemian and Lynch. It is his go-to move after finding out Keenum’s success in Minnesota wasn’t so much Keenum, but the talent-packed roster and coaching staff.

At some point, Elway is either going to hit on a veteran that can make magic happen (who knows...maybe Joe Flacco is elite!), or he is going to lose his job because at some point you have to make the sacrifices necessary in order to make a good NFL QB (note the adjective...good, not great).

There’s a lot of chatter right now about how the team is likely still going to go after a QB in this draft or the next with a very high draft pick in an effort to finally make a serious effort at developing the future for the Broncos at QB. This trade for Joe Flacco has me saying, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

I don’t think Elway has it in him. Not with a rookie offensive coordinator who has proven nothing in this league and a head coach who is a defensive guru. I could be wrong for sure, but I think this Flacco move is the equivalent of Elway breaking out his decade old “Easy” button he got from Staples back in the day.

Flacco will bring a completely different style of football to the Broncos

The one thing that has me excited about bringing in Joe Flacco (as I’m really very much not a fan of his body of work) is that having him at QB is going to force the Broncos into offensive changes that I’ve been clamoring for for years...namely pushing the ball downfield and threatening every area of the field.

Flacco may not be a great QB, but he can throw every throw at every level. He’s really good hitting targets deep. If the Broncos can get him time, he’ll absolutely be the guy that can find the open guys in the middle of the field and throw with enough velocity that the safeties don’t have time to make a play on the ball before it is caught.

I have to think that Rich Scangarello was very much involved in input on making this trade and that he has plans that utilize this skill set which should be encouraging for those of us who have been wanting to see a more electric offense than what we’ve been blessed with over the past years.

Though we are in the season of NFL fandom where hope springs eternal, let me caution you all. This is a new offensive coordinator, a new quarterback, and a completely new system that they will be installing in 2019. It isn’t going to look pretty. Remember the first handful of games that Manning was here for back in 2012? That was sloppy. Expect a lot of that for at least half of the season and don’t expect Flacco to be a top 10 NFL QB this year.

We may get that kind of success...but it is far more likely to come in 2020 than it is this year.

Final thoughts

Honestly, I could have written this article a couple of weeks ago, but I’m a fan just like all of you out there. And I’m not shy about saying I think Flacco is an average NFL QB at best. I didn’t like this move at all and didn’t really want to dig into it until we got past the hype and I could put some thoughts together that weren’t clouded with my person bias about the move.

I won’t keep harping on not liking the move going forward though. Flacco is now our QB and he deserves a chance. There’s also the idea that maybe he really needed a fresh start. Baltimore obviously tossed him to the curb last season for a new younger QB. There’s no way that sits well with him. I hope he feels like he has a lot to prove to the NFL and he grabs this opportunity to prove all the haters (including me) wrong. I’ll be cheering hard for him to succeed all season long.

Chime in in the comments with your thoughts on what this move means for the team.

Are any of you nervous about Scangarello and Flacco both being new to this offense that is just now being assembled?

Do we have the weapons to help Flacco win in Denver?

If not, what else should John Elway be focused on either in free agency or the draft?


John Elway hits the pause button on finding a new QB. How do you grade this move?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    A - Flacco is a winning QB. That’s what we do in Broncos Country
    (120 votes)
  • 58%
    B - It is a solid, not spectacular move. It should give Elway time to find the answer in the next two drafts
    (879 votes)
  • 20%
    C - I think it is the lesser of evils and probably not a great move...Broncos go 8-8 at best next season
    (315 votes)
  • 7%
    D - We just traded Keenum for Flacco...that is like trading green tea for black tea...they are both bitter and only mild stimulants
    (114 votes)
  • 5%
    F - John Elway is hopeless when it comes to QBs. The Broncos won’t have success until they get a real GM (this option is dedicated to all the dudes at the fan)
    (84 votes)
1512 votes total Vote Now