Freud: Flacco trade is John Elway’s latest folly (column)
February 13, 2019
Trivia time: Who is the only quarterback the Denver Broncos have ever drafted who won a playoff game?
Tim Tebow. Yep. Remember the Broncos selected Chris Hinton in 1983 and dealt him as part of a package to the then-Baltimore Colts for John Elway.
So, since the Broncos never drafted quarterback Joe Flacco, there’s a chance they could win a playoff game next season?
We’ve said it before and we say it again — how can the greatest quarterback in Broncos history not be able to find a quarterback as the franchise’s general manager?
What the heck are you doing, John?
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Always look on the bright side …
OK, let’s try to give this a chance. The good news is that Case Keenum is done. The Broncos will try to trade him for a pair of cleats or, more likely, release him. In answer to your next question, the Broncos will be on the hook for $10 million against the salary cap, which would be better than watching him play and paying him $18 million.
Maybe, Flacco isn’t the long-term solution at quarterback — that’s good, he’s 34 — and Elway’s planning to draft a quarterback with the Broncos’ No. 10 pick in the first round of this spring’s NFL Draft. The downside of this scenario is that Elway will be drafting a quarterback. How’d Paxton Lynch work?
Flacco isn’t guaranteed any money. If the Broncos end up cutting him after training camp, they take no hit against the salary cap. The only problem here is that we’re back to Keenum at $18 million or maybe some promising newly drafted quarterback whose career will be immediately incinerated by having being picked by Elway. One wonders if Dwayne Hoskins (Ohio State) and Drew Lock (Missouri) might be making some pact with the devil not be drafted by Denver.
There just isn’t a bright side to this. Joe Flacco is old, has a lot of NFL miles on him and hasn’t been able to lead his team to the playoffs since 2014.
And let’s remember, the Baltimore Ravens generally have had good defenses. Last season, the Ravens were No. 2 in points allowed in the NFL and No. 1 in yards-per-game, and Flacco couldn’t muster enough offense to avoid getting benched in favor of rookie Lamar Jackson.
How is Denver going to be any better for Flacco? The franchise has already tried the approach of game-manager quarterback and let the defense win the game with Trevor Siemian, Lynch, Brock Osweiler and Keenum. How is this different? It isn’t.
Take a seat, John
Yeah, Keenum wasn’t the answer. His numbers in 2017 in Minnesota were puffed up by playing behind a good team. Keenum also wasn’t the answer because Denver’s offensive line remains pitiful. Elway’s had three years to address the offensive line and, well, nothing’s happened.
Garett Bolles? That’s another first-round pick gone bad.
What’s more, center Max Paradis, who has been one of the few bright spots, is a free agent. How in the world is Flacco, not exactly a mobile quarterback, going to stay upright this season?
And this brings us to the heart of the problem again — Elway. As great of a quarterback, as he was for the Broncos, he’s just not a very good general manager. Let’s be honest, he stumbled into Peyton Manning. There’s a reason finding a quarterback via free agency doesn’t work. Great quarterbacks don’t get to free agency or have had major neck surgeries (Manning).
You’ve got to draft your franchise quarterback — and, perhaps do something about your offensive line, just saying — and Elway has failed. You’ve got to draft well in general — and with the exception of 2011 and 2018 during his tenure — Elway hasn’t drafted well.
Most GMs whose teams have gone from a Super Bowl win to 9-7 to 5-11 to 6-10 are on the hot seat.
Care to sit down, John?