Although Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco couldn’t recreate his vintage postseason magic during the Cleveland Browns’ wild-card matchup with the Houston Texans, his time with the team may not be over.
During a recent appearance on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast, Flacco discussed his remarkable NFL comeback and career as a whole in addition to providing some insight into his thoughts on the future. While he is in wait-and-see mode for the time being, Flacco said that he is “definitely open” to a reunion with Cleveland after leading the team to just its third playoff berth this century.
“Man, Cleveland was unbelievable. I’m definitely open to be back in Cleveland,” Flacco said. “At the same point, I don’t want to rush to any decisions either. I didn’t know what the market for QBs was gonna look like last spring, and I don’t know what it’s gonna look like this spring.”
The former division rival-turned-folk hero was one of the most compelling stories of the 2023 regular season, as Flacco delivered some of the finest quarterbacking in team history at a time when all hope seemed lost. Injuries decimated Cleveland’s roster throughout the season and limited franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson to six games before undergoing shoulder surgery.
Backups Dorian Thompson-Robinson and P.J. Walker combined for two touchdown passes and nine interceptions in Watson’s absence and while that helped Cleveland post a 7-4 record, it wasn’t going to be enough to make a playoff run.
Cleveland then turned to Flacco – who it first signed to its practice squad on Nov. 20, 2023 – for its Week 13 matchup with the Los Angeles Rams. The Browns went on to suffer a 36-19 blowout loss before rallying to win their next four games and clinch a spot in the playoffs.
Flacco finished the regular season with 1,616 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions in five games. Not only did the 39-year-old become the first Browns quarterback with four consecutive 300-yard outings, he now ranks first in franchise history in passing yards (323.2) and touchdowns per game (2.6).
Unfortunately, Flacco’s turnover woes put the nail in the coffin of Cleveland’s season when he threw two costly pick-sixes on back-to-back possessions in the team’s 45-14 wild-card loss to the Houston Texans.
After being non-committal about his future immediately following the wild-card loss, it seems as though Flacco might be more open to the idea of coming back for a 17th NFL season. As he mentioned, he will have to wait to see how the free-agent quarterback market shakes out, but should he return to Cleveland, it would definitely be as a backup. Watson still has three seasons remaining on the $230 million fully guaranteed contract he signed with the Browns during the 2022 offseason.
Even so, it seems unlikely another team will seek Flacco to be their starter for the 2024 season and perhaps he is willing to back up Watson if the Browns are interested. After all, the organization left a lasting impression on him during his short tenure.
“I can’t say enough good things about how that organization is being run right now, and the atmosphere in the building and the way that guys feel like their futures [are] headed,” Flacco said. “I think it would be a very special place to be if I have the opportunity to go back there.”