Brandon Krisztal joined Broncos Country Tonight for a little “Broncos Insider” talk, and he had some interesting insights on team news of the day:
On Joe Flacco’s future with the Broncos:
Pro Football Talk reported Tuesday that Joe Flacco’s recent MRI on his neck was good, and the quarterback was healthy enough to play. 9News’ Mike Klis then reported that Flacco’s agent said his client was seeking a second opinion.
Basically, the Broncos are wanting teams to see the quarterback as healthy enough to play, so that they can possibly trade him now that No. 3 has the QB1 spot “locked” in (see what I did there?) But Flacco is likely angling for an injury settlement if he gets cut - because the opportunities for him to find a starting QB job are slim.
Krisztal told Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright that regardless of the reports, he’s hearing that Flacco would need surgery if he wants to get back on the field to play quarterback. The question is - does Flacco want to play if he’s aiming for a backup position? Probably not.
“I think the Broncos will end up having to reach an injury settlement,” Krisztal said, adding that Flacco’s $10 million cap hit if he’s cut is not that much and he doesn’t see the Broncos being able to trade him in a year where a lot of better QBs are looking for a home.
Talked to Elway. He said working through options with Flacco but sounded encouraged about his long-term health. No decision has been made on Flacco's status with team. #9sports https://t.co/e60yn9mV8s— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) February 18, 2020
In a later segment on Broncos Country Tonight, Edwards brought up the idea of keeping Flacco into training camp. His rationale was that unless the Broncos really needed the cap room right now for free agents, etc., there’s a chance they’d have a trade partner just before the season hits.
“What if a team’s starting quarterback gets hurt? Or the young rookie they’re planning on starting doesn’t progress as much as they thought?” he argued. “A team may need a Joe Flacco.”
It was an interesting point, and although Allbright argued that he didn’t think even teams in a bind would want what Flacco has to offer and Steve Atwater argued that the Broncos need to just get the roster they want and not hold on to players they don’t need, Edwards’ point had some merit.
But at the end of the day, the biggest issue may be whether Flacco even wants to go through the motions of playing next season.
“The question is, regardless of what Broncos pay, for Joe Flacco, who is in his mid-30s, has five kids under 8, and $170 million in the bank before taxes...do you really want to go through all this to get back on the field to be a back up or maybe have a chance with nothing guaranteed?”
For Allbright, that’s exactly why Flacco is probably looking for an injury settlement - to get as much as he can before ending his NFL career.
“He’s not going anywhere to be a backup and the opportunity to be a starter is maybe non-existent, ... so he’s just trying to make sure he maximizes what he can get on the way out,” he said. “And I’m all for guys trying secure the bag, but if you’re the Broncos, you want to get out with the minimum. you’re trying to work some things, trying to pay all these free agents you have and maybe even work a deal for Stefon Diggs.”
Which brings us to the next topic...
Could Stefon Diggs become a Bronco?
The Vikings’ top receiver - or likely, “the receiver formerly known as the Vikings’ top receiver” - scrubbed his social media of anything related to the Vikings, and word on the street is that he likes playing for Pat Shurmur, the Broncos’ new offensive coordinator.
So will Elway make him a Bronco?
Krisztal says the picture will be clearer after the Combine next week. If Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III runs a 4.2 40, he may run himself right up the first-round draft ranking and could be too far for the Broncos picking at 15.
If that is the case, a blue and orange jersey on Diggs may be a lot more likely. Plus, Krisztal doesn’t see Diggs costing too much in terms of draft capital, so there’s a better than average chance the Broncos make a move.
Although Krisztal isn’t sure he’s a No. 1 priority for the Broncos, he certainly doesn’t see Darius Slay as a possibility given the high draft cost the Lions cornerback is going to be.
So then what do the Broncos do with the Harrises?
Pro Football Focus came out with an evaluation on Shelby Harris as three years, $16 million total - a lower number than most Broncos insiders are projecting for the defensive tackle.
And Krisztal says it will be far more surprising if the Shelby version of Harris - compared to the Chris version - doesn’t get high market value in free agency.
Although Chris Harris Jr. has been wanting in the $15 million/year range, Krisztal doesn’t see the almost 31-year-old cornerback having as much luck this year.
“I don’t think people are banging down the door to pay Chris Harris, Jr., $15 million/year,” he said, adding that the three years, $16 million for Shelby Harris “feels low.”
“For where he is in his career, how well he played last year, the fact that he did show versatility and could play nose if you needed it, I’d be more surprised if he doesn’t get top dollar,” Krisztal said. “If Chris gets it, I’ll be happy for him. Love to see him get his money but also love to see him stay in Denver and see Broncos pay him a competitive wage.”
Which would be more surprising?
This poll is closed
Shelby Harris gets a deal like three years, $16 million total
Chris Harris Jr. gets the $15 million/year he wants