One of the most surprising occurrences of the 2023 NFL season was Joe Flacco’s performance, as he emerged from retirement and essentially rescued the Cleveland Browns’ season.

Despite Flacco’s accomplishments with the Browns, The Athletic’s Zac Jackson anticipates his departure from the team:

The Browns are retaining much of their roster, including nearly all of their key players. Flacco is highly unlikely to remain with the team, especially since Deshaun Watson is returning.

Despite enjoying a lengthy and successful career, which included winning a Super Bowl and amassing an estimated $175 million, Flacco isn’t ready to retire just yet. It’s reasonable to assume there will be considerable interest in the 39-year-old quarterback in the open market.

After spending two seasons with the New York Jets, Flacco received no free agent offers during the 2023 offseason but joined Cleveland’s practice squad in November following Deshaun Watson’s season-ending injury. Flacco later became the Browns’ starter after Dorian Thompson-Robinson suffered a concussion.

The New Jersey native started five regular-season games for the Browns, winning four of them, completing 60.3% of his passes for 1,616 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Unfortunately, Flacco’s postseason performance took a downturn as he threw two pick-sixes in a 45-14 loss to the Houston Texans in the Wild Card Round.

Despite being named the league’s Comeback Player of the Year, Cleveland will proceed with Deshaun Watson, who will carry a nearly $64 million cap hit next year. They also have Thompson-Robinson to groom as a backup.

With numerous college quarterbacks expected to be drafted this year, Flacco might seek the opportunity to serve as a transitional QB while a younger player develops. If such opportunities don’t materialize, he may consider pursuing a high-end backup role in 2024.

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