Browns Finally Commit To Joe Flacco Through 2023 Season

Browns finally commit to Joe Flacco through 2023 season

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Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for and 850 ESPN Cleveland. He has covered the Browns since 1984.

Takeaways from Browns practice and interviews …

Browns fans can breathe easier. Joe Flacco is finally under contract. He has graduated from the practice squad.

Once Kevin Stefanski declared after the Jacksonville game that Flacco was his starting quarterback for the remainder of the season, it was only a formality for a regular contract to be consummated. It was completed on Thursday.

According to a source, Flacco signed for the remainder of this season for “significantly more” than the NFL minimum for 10-year+ veterans, pro-rated over the final four games. The NFL minimum in 2023 for players with 10+ years is $1.165 million, which would have come to about $260,000 for Flacco. So he's well above that on salary alone.

In addition, he’ll receive up to $4.05 million in incentives. Those are comprised of $75,000 for each regular-season win, $250,000 for a wild-card win, $500,000 for a win in the second round of the playoffs, $1 million for a win in the AFC Championship Game, and $2 million for a Super Bowl win.

“I really didn’t think too much about it,” Flacco said of getting a deal done. “I came in here to work out. They explained to me, ‘This is what we’re going to do.’ Everything from there is what it is. Really, I’m just looking for an opportunity to play.”

Opportunity to play? He’s only rescued the Browns’ quarterback situation, if not their playoff hopes, with two eye-opening games behind center.

If Joe Flacco takes the Browns to the Super Bowl championship, he'll earn $4.05 in contract incentives. (Cleveland Browns)



With 15 years of NFL experience, Flacco made $20,100 for his first week on the practice squad. He received about $65,000 active roster pay for each of the two games he was elevated from the practice squad.

“I don’t even know. I haven’t looked at my bank account recently,” Flacco said.

The contract removes the possibility of another team trying to “poach,” or entice, Flacco from the Browns’ practice squad with a regular contract.

The source said that there was at least one NFC team that considered making a contract run at Flacco.

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

Now the question is about 2024. His new deal is only through 2023. Will the Browns invite Flacco back? Will he seek another team through free agency?

“Who knows? I’m just taking it day by day,” Flacco said.

One thing is for sure. Flacco wants to play in 2024. He turns 39 years old on January 16.

“I know I want to play. So me wanting to play is not in question,” he said.

Feeling Myles’ pain

Myles Garrett’s public criticism of officiating in the Jacksonville game was understandable, according to defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

Per Schwartz, Garrett’s frustration lay in the fact after being double-teamed and chipped all game, he finally got some one-on-one opportunities against Blake Hance late in the game – and Hance’s mauling of Garrett never drew a holding call.

“I can feel that frustration,” Schwartz said. “NFL officials are very loathe to call holding versus double teams. I've heard from officials in the past where they say, well, you've devoted a double team to that guy, so they -- I don't want to say turn a blind eye, but just as part of their mechanics, their eyes are supposed to go away from the double team, right? So they're looking other places in double team.

“But when you do get one-on-ones and you're a premier guy and you feel like you've been held, I think that's certainly frustrating.”
Schwartz praised Garrett for not letting the officials’ blind eye affect his game.

“Particularly the last drive of that game, I don't know if I've ever seen him rush so well,” Schwartz said. “It didn't translate to a sack until the two-point play, but his win percentage, probably the last two drives was unbelievable. It was really inspiring to watch, and you could tell he was mad and he was everything else, but he was more determined and just kept on coming. I was really proud of that.”
Brownie bits

In his previous nine NFL seasons, Dustin Hopkins was 15 of 30 on field goals of 50+. With the Browns this year, he leads the NFL with an 8 of 8 mark, which prompts special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone to say, “He's really been the best kicker in football, in my opinion. He really has. I mean, we play in conditions that are not easy. Our stadium is not easy to kick in. We play games outside in weather. And he's done a great job. He's been the best in the league in my opinion." …

With the loss to injuries of defensive tackle Jordan Elliott and end Ogbo Okoronkwo, look for seldom-used rookies Isaiah McGuire and Siaki Ika to step into the defensive line rotation. Schwartz said he’s excited to see how they respond …

The winner of the coin toss in every Browns game this year has chosen to defer the opening kickoff. Could that change Sunday? The Bears have chosen to take the ball four times. That’s a league high and they are 3-1 in those games. Coin toss winners have chosen the ball only 22 times in 208 games this season …

Dorian Thompson-Robinson confirmed he’s been sharing reps with P.J. Walker in simulating Chicago dual-threat quarterback Justin Fields on the scout team this week. DTR drew praise from Stefanski for simulating Lamar Jackson prior to the November 12 against Baltimore …

Practice DNP’s due to injury included center Ethan Pocic (stinger), defensive tackle Jordan Elliott (concussion), free safety Juan Thornhill (calf), defensive end Ogbo Okoronkwo (pectoral) and running back Pierre Strong (illness). Cornerback Denzel Ward (shoulder) had his second day of limited action.