Skip to main content

Cleveland Browns reportedly expected to make surprising Joe Flacco decision this offseason

Cleveland Browns' Joe Flacco
Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

When quarterback Deshaun Watson went down with a season-ending injury in Week 10 last season, many assumed the Cleveland Browns’ playoff hopes were over. After the team dropped to 7-5, Joe Flacco came in and saved the team’s season. It raised questions about Cleveland’s quarterback plans in 2024.

By most measurements, Flacco outplayed Watson in a similar sample size. Watson received a 67.3 grade from Pro Football Focus and ranked 28th in EPA per Play (-0.021). In comparison, Flacco posted a 74.2 PFF grade, finished ahead of Watson in EPA per Play (-0.016) and the offense seemed to function better with him under center.

Related: 2024 NFL power rankings, see where Cleveland Browns land

A poor performance in the Wild Card loss to the Houston Texans reaffirmed what many expected, that Flacco would not overtake Watson in a starting quarterback competition next season. However, it appears Cleveland won’t even let Flacco stick around.

According to Zac Jackson of The Athletic, Flacco is ‘almost definitely moving on’ with Cleveland fully committed to Watson returning in 2024 as the unquestioned starting quarterback.

While it isn’t a surprise that Flacco wouldn’t be the Browns’ starting quarterback in 2024, moving on from the veteran signal-caller is surprising. It even feels more questionable when comparing how Flacco and Watson performed last season in the same offense.

Cleveland Browns QB comparison: Joe Flacco vs Deshaun Watson

QB RatingCompletion RateYPATD % – INT %
Joe Flacco90.260.3%7.96.4% – 3.9%
Deshaun Watson84.361.4%6.54.1% – 2.3%

Related: Cleveland Browns draft picks 2024

Cleveland might feel confident that 2023 fifth-round pick Dorian Thompson-Robinson is ready to become a viable backup quarterback. However, he struggled in his rookie season. Across eight appearances, Thompson-Robinson posted a 53.6 percent completion rate with a 1-4 TD-INT line and averaged just 3.9 yards per pass attempt.

While Flacco fast became a fan-favorite for the Browns, it’s possible Cleveland’s coaching staff and front office may not want him returning in 2024 due to the chance fans call for him to take over as the starter if Watson struggles. The Browns’ quarterback decision might ultimately be financially-driven, but it could also prove costly to the team’s chances if Watson suffers another injury or his struggles continue.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: