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Browns GM: ‘Love’ to have Joe Flacco as QB backup to Deshaun Watson

Dec 3, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry reacts during the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry is open to the idea of bringing back quarterback Joe Flacco after the veteran helped the Browns reach the playoffs, as he tries to line up a 2024 backup to Deshaun Watson.

“We’d absolutely love to have Joe back,” Andrew Berry said at a press conference Monday. “He’s a good quarterback.”

Flacco, who turned 39 on Jan. 16, was picked up as a free agent after a season-ending shoulder injury to starter Watson. Before Flacco’s arrival, P.J. Walker and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson shared the duties at starter.

The Browns went 4-1 with Flacco in the regular season, as he threw for 300-plus yards in each of the last four games, all wins, to set a franchise record for that streak. He completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 1,616 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Cleveland, the fifth seed, fell to the host Houston Texans 45-14 in the first round of the AFC playoffs on Jan. 13, when Flacco threw for 307 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

“He played winning football for us,” Berry said. “He did a great job of coming in and really playing at a high level that allowed us to go on a run at the end of the year. They played really good football in December — even if maybe we ended a little bit with a thud against Houston in the wild-card round. Really pleased with what Joe did on the field, pleased with who he was as a teammate.”

Berry compared Flacco’s situation to the 2022 season, when Jacoby Brissett started at QB while Watson was suspended for 11 games. Brissett parlayed that solid performance into a free-agent signing with the Washington Commanders in 2023.

The general manager said availability and cost are considerations in building the roster.

“I want to bring all of our good players back, but there are constraints to that,” Berry said. “I’m really kind of both sides of the aisle. Would have no problem having Joe back.”

Bery is open to carrying three quarterbacks on the roster but Watson, with his $230 million contract, is the starter.

“Zero consideration. Zero consideration because of how both individuals are,” Berry said of making anybody but Watson the starter. “It’s not a concern internally at all.”

Thompson-Robinson, with his mobility strong arm, remains in the mix for a QB spot next season.

“In terms of the quarterback room, we’ve always valued the quarterback position,” Berry said. “I think if you look at our history over the last four offseasons, we’ve always been towards the top of the league in backup quarterback expenditures and resources. … I believe backup quarterback is a top-30 position on the roster. We do believe in carrying three.”

–Field Level Media

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