Flacco gets one-year deal with incentives

Published 12:22 am Friday, December 15, 2023

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Joe Flacco’s officially signed and sealed with Cleveland. He’s already delivered.

Flacco got a one-year, $4.05 million contract — loaded with incentives — on Thursday from the Browns, who brought in the veteran quarterback last month while in emergency mode after losing starter Deshaun Watson for the season with a right shoulder injury.

Flacco’s deal means the 38-year-old moves from the practice squad to the active roster. And while it was more procedural than anything, it assures he’ll be with the Browns (8-5) as they try to clinch a playoff spot.

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The team elevated Flacco from the practice squad in each of the past two weeks to start games against the Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville.

While he was on the practice squad, other teams could have signed him, and Flacco wasn’t aware of any trying.

“I wouldn’t have went, though, anyway,” he said. “It’s been great here.”

Flacco can earn $75,000 for each win in any of Cleveland’s four remaining regular-season games, a person familiar with the financial terms told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the incentives haven’t been made public. Additionally, Flacco can make $250,000 for a wild-card win, $500,000 for a divisional playoff win, $1 million for an AFC title and another $2 million if the Browns win the Super Bowl.

ESPN first reported terms of Flacco’s deal.

Flacco has been something of a savior for the Browns, who have been decimated by injuries and yet are still in the thick of the playoff race.

When Flacco beat the Jaguars in his home debut last week, Cleveland became just the seventh team in the Super Bowl era to have four quarterbacks win games in the same season.

A father of five, Flacco was home in New Jersey pondering his future and wondering if his career was over when the Browns called. The former Super Bowl MVP with Baltimore tried out, signed on Nov. 20 and is back leading a team.

It’s possible Flacco’s stay in Cleveland could extend beyond this season, but he’s only focused on playing this week.

Could he be back with the Browns in 2024?

“Who knows?” he said. “I’m just taking it day by day still and trying to go out there and do my best on Sundays. I know I want to play. So me wanting to play is not in question.”

It hasn’t taken Flacco long to mesh with his teammates, some of whom have been impressed with how quickly he’s picked up Cleveland’s offense.

“I’ve been surprised myself,” wide receiver Amari Cooper said. “He seems to be very poised back there. He just seems to have a great understanding of what’s expected of the quarterback position. I’ve been very surprised by him, by how fast he was able to pick up the playbook and things like that.”

Flacco’s calm demeanor was on display last week against Jacksonville. As the Jaguars mounted a fourth-quarter rally, Flacco was on the sideline making sure the offense was ready for whatever came next.

“He’s seen it all, been a part of it all,” said All-Pro left guard Joel Bitonio. “So he was just focused on talking about the clock, where it’s going to be. If we get the ball back under two minutes, we’re going to be able to take a knee. If not, we got to get a first down.

“All these different aspects. I just think it comes with experience, and it’s one of those things where we appreciate that and hopefully we can keep rolling with it.”

NOTES: DE Ogbo Okoronkwo (pectoral), DT Jordan Elliott (concussion), C Ethan Pocic (neck stinger) and S Juan Thornhill (calf) missed practice. Okoronkwo is expected to join Cleveland’s long list of players on injured reserve. Okoronkwo returned to the field after getting hurt on final play of the thid quarter last week. “He had one arm,” coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “I didn’t even realize it as the game was going on. I watched the film, almost threw up that he was out there. He’s a tough guy and he actually did his job in the scheme.”