Denver Broncos: The aftermath of the Joe Flacco trade
Can the Broncos contend?
Even asking this question requires a level of optimism even I may not have, but now it’s worth asking because drafting a rookie and taking lumps would mean the Broncos were prepared to stink in 2019.
Trading for Joe Flacco, regardless of how poorly he’s played in recent years, seems to indicate the team’s infrastructure — John Elway, Matt Russell, Vic Fangio, Rich Scangarello — believes Flacco can still help a team win now.
Again, that is an optimistic view, and one I don’t fully share at this point in time, but Flacco does have precedence of being a winning quarterback, even if most of his wins came from 2008-2014.
The Broncos have to believe they have a defense that can contend with the best defensive coordinator in the NFL in Vic Fangio calling the shots, the best edge rusher in the league in Von Miller, and now one of the league’s best young defensive stars in Bradley Chubb.
They can now use free agency and the NFL Draft to supplement that talent with more pieces around Flacco and he’s proven in the (distant) past that he can win in those favorable conditions.
Factor in that the Broncos’ coaching should be markedly improved, and the most optimistic view of this move is that the Broncos can be a relatively mistake-free offense with a great defense and make some noise come January.
They are still not necessarily going to be built to win shootouts, but they might be a team that can win a lot of close games. That’s going to be the thinking of the front office, at least.
But the Broncos need a plan in place beyond Flacco. At the age of 34, it’s clear he’s not a long-term fix. That is still needed. The Broncos can now take a quarterback with upside in the middle rounds, rack up compensatory picks, and gather draft capital needed to make a move in the 2020 NFL Draft.