August 29, 2014

NFL Rumor: Browns listed as prime candidate to steal Flacco from Ravens

The Cleveland Browns could conceivably roll into Year One of the Joe Banner experiment with Brandon Weeden at the helm. They could bring in a cagey veteran to give Weeden a bit of a challenge for the starting spot. They could also try to acquire a questionable cast-aside starter in San Francisco’s Alex Smith. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, however, things the Browns could realistically go with door number four: Baltimore Ravens’ impending free agent, Joe Flacco.

Was it only me listening to Baltimore owner Steve Bisciotti and trusted GM Ozzie Newsome the other day, thinking they’re going to throw the first big changeup into this offseason? Was it only me taking their words and reading resolve in them, and thinking it’s actually possible that Joe Flacco could be stolen by a quarterback-needy and starved-for-relevance team like Cleveland?

Listening to Bisciotti and Newsome, you’d be a fool to think it’s not possible. Probable? No. But look at the tea leaves [...]

Cleveland was $48 million under the cap as of Friday. Signing Flacco would rob the Browns of the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, plus their first-rounder next year. Because the Browns used their second-round pick on receiver Josh Gordon in the Supplemental Draft last year, they wouldn’t choose until 68th overall in April.

But think of the shot of adrenalin for the Browns, if they could rip away Flacco from a team they despise. What sweet irony for Cleveland, to steal the Super Bowl-winning quarterback from the team that stole their franchise. With new owner Jimmy Haslam and uber-aggressive president Joe Banner dying to make a splash to show their fans this won’t be the same old Browns, imagine Cleveland signing Flacco for five years and $110 million, making him the highest-paid player in history. And say Cleveland makes the 2013 salary $35 million. That way it’d be almost impossible for Baltimore to match; if the Ravens balked at $20 million per, you think they’d accede to $35 million in Year 1?

The salary numbers being used by King are the fuel for his speculation. If the Ravens were to lock Flacco up with the “exclusive rights” franchise tag, it would ensure that no team could swoop and in and pluck the Super Bowl MVP; the down side is that this would cost Baltimore $44 million over the next two years which represents a figure larger than the paychecks being earned by Drew Brees and Tom Brady. If the Ravens opted for the standard franchise tag, it would lower the financial burden, but “franchise” players can still talk to the other 31 NFL teams to work on a contract that would then compensate the tradee with multiple draft picks.

The Browns are owners of substantial salary cap flexibility while the Ravens, not inclduing Flacco’s impending deal, are already $5 million over the threshold.

[Related: Joe Banner and the assumed departure of Phil Dawson]

  • dwhit110

    2 draft picks, sure. But ask yourself this… Who’s QBing that team? Geno Smith? Alex Smith? Matt Hasselbeck? You’re crippling Baltimore even given the two picks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Kylebrannan Kyle Brannan

    Build a team around the quarterback, not build a team and draft a quarterback to hope he fits in what we have set already. It hasn’t been working. You would think they got this by now.

  • Natedawg86

    I think they would move up next year with a trade and get someone good, and use Alex Smith this year as a gap QB.

  • Natedawg86

    Peyton Manning “likes” this

  • Harv 21

    I know (think? hope?) you’re goofin’ but really, has anyone sufficiently explained why, with the sea of migrant kickers and punters roaming every summer, teams can’t find one who can do both at an NFL level? I mean, maybe raise the expectations just a notch and some of these kickers will blurt out that they were also all-state punters. You’re telling me that Roby can punt and hold for FGs, but kicking is out of the question.

    [And I can't remember what time I was supposed to switch to decaf]

  • Garry_Owen

    Tell me more about this “decaf.”

  • C_CLE

    So you’re saying because we didn’t make a move on player A and it has been determined to be a bad decision, we necessarily SHOULD make a similar move on player B to avoid making the same mistake? That sounds perfectly logical. Especially given that player A and player B are equals right? They obviously have the same style, skillset, age, and potential. Oh wait, they aren’t and they don’t?

  • mgbode

    yeah, the Broncos went from making the divisional round of the playoffs with Tebow (who could not beat out Kyle Orton and Mark Sanchez in successive summers) to making the divisional round of the playoffs with Peyton who the entire NFL fawns over.

    maybe not the best example?

  • mgbode

    Michael Koenen tried for Atlanta, his leg nearly fell off from the extra work and they moved away from it in-season.

    I don’t know why soccer players can kick the ball continuously, accurately and with power over and over but NFL kickers cannot, but there must be a clause in the CBA out-lawing such provisions?

  • mgbode

    the new celebration would be the player raising 2 fingers as high as possible to tell his coach not to even think about letting him try to kick.

  • Harv 21

    hard to describe without getting angry … imagine a liquid tease, waiting and waiting but you can’t see into the future, or reading Henery and not flashing on the song “Henery the Eighth I am I am.” Useless liquid, but that’s what The Man says is better for me after a certain point in the day. I’m not prepared to take a stand either way. I need more info myself.

  • Garry_Owen

    Hmm. Sounds evil. I will steer clear.

    “And everyone is a Henery . . .”

  • C-Bus Kevin

    This comment section is hilarious. A couple thoughts…

    1. There is no such thing as overpaying for the right quarterback if you believe that he is the solution for your team. No team goes anywhere without a top notch QB. Not saying Flacco is that guy…just saying.
    2. I love the “Flacco’s not good enough” talk. The dude just won Super Bowl MVP. By definition, he’s good enough (same number of titles as Brees, Rodgers and Peyton Manning, by the way). Who are we holding out for, exactly? Tom Brady and a time machine ride back to 2001?
    3. “Don’t spend that kind of money and draft picks on a QB. We can always draft one later.” How’s that been working out for the last 14 years?
    4. “This team is FAR from ready to contend. We need to add more pieces before we plug in the right QB.” I’m sorry…have you played/watched competitive sports before? Even if you have absolute garbage in other areas, an MVP-quality player can right a lot of wrongs. Just ask the Packers…and our defense was better than theirs this year. The Saints even made a push at one point, and I think they were playing with 8 or 9 guys on the field (at least that’s how it looked).

  • Garry_Owen

    Just say “no” to Flacco. Why, you ask?
    He went to Delaware.
    Look at Delaware’s helmets.
    ‘Nuff said.
    /Braylon’d

  • mgbode

    he couldn’t even start for the Pitt Panthers

  • Natedawg86

    Indy 10,11,12 – 10-6/2-14/11-5

  • Natedawg86

    peyton is not the best Playoff QB either

  • mgbode

    to use it as the example though, you have to look at both sides.

    and one of those sides involved Curtis Painter. Even the Browns have had better backups than that :)

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    free-agent qb in negotiations has his name floated by nfl insider as target of in-divison rival?

    im shocked. SHOCKED!

    wrt to alex smith, does anyone else think the narrative of cast-aside starter lacks sophistication? to wit:

    * he had five OCs in five years,
    * his o-line when he started required the investment of three 1st round picks,
    * he had a new primary target in each of his first four years: brandon lloyd, antonio bryant, arnaz battle, isaac bruce,
    * he had a coach on the hot seat pressing him to play with an injury that needed surgery,
    * he had another coach on the hot seat trying to shift blame for a poor season by starting troy smith -TROY SMITH- in front of him,
    * he was nothing less than heroic in the niners playoff win over the saints.

    i tend to the think the alex smith story is more nuanced than the treatment it generally receives.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    also, are we quite sure the ravens are in cap hell to the point of letting a super bowl winning qb walk?

    this indicates theyre at 106MM (w ray lewis on the books) against a 2013 cap of ~121MM. not sure how much lewis would need to be eaten, but let’s say the ravens have $20MM to play with probably more as you’ll see more guys released. boldin’s 6MM or jones’ 3MM will likely go.

    their notable FAs are:
    flacco
    reed (wont re-sign)
    ellerbe
    kruger
    pitta (rfa).

    they’re going to sign flacco, call it 13MM (well above vick’s 10MM).
    if i’m the ravens i try to sign ellerbe and pitta with what’s left over and let kruger (~7MM) go.

    what would be interesting is if the browns went after ellerbe/pitta.

  • EVAN M

    No NO no!! dO Not do this Brownies! If we had a solid O -line, Great WR crew, and didnt have any holes on our DEF, THEN yes! do the trade.. but we all know this is not true. We still need a CB, LB, RG AND RUSH RUSH RUSH END.