Is Joe Flacco done with the Denver Broncos after injury?
The Denver Broncos will be without Joe Flacco for at least 5-6 weeks after his recent neck injury. Has he taken his last snap with the team?
The Denver Broncos have decisions to make with Joe Flacco’s neck injury, which will now keep him out at least 5-6 weeks according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Flacco was seen on the sideline during the Broncos’ loss against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday getting treatment on his neck, or at least trying to stretch it out, and it turns out that Flacco had a more serious injury than a simple stretch could fix.
Flacco has a herniated disc in his neck, an injury that was originally reported on Monday.
There’s so much fallout with an injury to Flacco like this, especially with Drew Lock having been on IR the entire season up to this point. Although the decision to keep Lock off the practice field and delay his return is highly questionable, the Broncos obviously feel that Lock is more Sam Darnold/Dwayne Haskins at this point as opposed to other young QBs having a lot of success right now.
Which, by the way, of the quarterbacks selected since 2018, who is having the most success?
That could be a fun question to explore another time.
At any rate, Flacco’s 5-6 week timetable puts us near the end of the 2019 regular season. The Broncos may have no choice but to place him on injured reserve to preserve a roster spot.
As a matter of fact, Mike Klis said that IR is ‘expected’ for Flacco.
If Flacco goes on injured reserve with an injury he will be recovered from prior to the end of the regular season, things get really interesting.
Looking at the recent situation with the New England Patriots and wide receiver Josh Gordon, it’s possible that the Broncos would place Flacco on IR with a ‘minor injury designation’ and if that’s the case, Flacco would have to be released from IR when he’s healthy.
There’s no guarantee the Broncos would do that, and I’m guessing they won’t, but what if Flacco demands it?
The situation in Denver isn’t great for Flacco, and with his horrendous play in the first eight games of the season combined with his frustrations working with/for Rich Scangarello, would anyone be surprised if Flacco asked the Broncos to give him the minor injury designation?
He would still get the guaranteed money the Broncos owe him, but there’s no certainty that Flacco will make the roster in 2020 and there’s definitely no guarantee he’s getting his starting job back as the Broncos apparently intend to get Drew Lock some starts in December.
Let’s put all of the pieces together.
- Joe Flacco has a neck injury keeping him out 5-6 weeks
- 6 weeks from now is December
- The Broncos are ‘expected’ to put him on IR
- The Broncos hope to get Drew Lock starts in December
- Broncos 2020 plan should be either Lock or a top draft pick
If we put all of that together, the idea that Flacco would just go to injured reserve, hide in the shadows, and then come back as a willing backup to Drew Lock or a rookie in 2020 is inaccurate.
Flacco could ask the Broncos to release him off IR when he’s healthy, spend that time recovering and rehabbing, being with his family, and come back at it fresh as a free agent in 2020 and choose his situation, assuming there are NFL teams who would still have him.
We’re getting ahead of things here, but the Broncos already intended to pay Flacco $18.5 million this year, $13.6 million of which was pushed to next year to give the team space in 2019.
Just so we’re clear, the Broncos would have paid that money to Flacco regardless of the timing of things, so no one needs to worry that they added $13.6 million to his previous contract.
The Broncos would still save $10.05 million on next year’s cap by releasing Flacco from IR this year.
Because Flacco had $13.6 million of his contract guaranteed and moved around by the Broncos, he’s got plenty of cash in his pocket and the situation in Denver clearly didn’t work out for him. It would not surprise me at all to see both sides move on with the Broncos going another direction (youth movement) at the position and it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened before the season was over.