Posted on February 18, 2019, by Travis Pulver

Trades are supposed to help a team get better, either by subtraction or addition. Getting rid of a player can improve the moral and overall chemistry of a squad. Of course, adding the right player—like a former Super Bowl MVP – should make a team better.

That is, it should make a team better in theory. But that does not appear to be the case regarding the impending trade of Joe Flacco from the Ravens to the Broncos.

Keith Allison/Flickr

The fact that the Ravens are trading him does not come as a surprise. With the emergence of rookie Lamar Jackson at the end of the season, Flacco’s time was clearly destined to come to an end. It was just a matter of whether they traded him or released him.  

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Denver has been searching for the right quarterback since Peyton Manning last took the field. They hoped Case Keenum could be the guy, but the results with him behind center last season were not exactly stellar.

So, the two teams almost seemed destined to become trade partners. One had a former Super Bowl MVP in need of a new home, and the other needed a quarterback that could lead them to the Super Bowl.

Whether Flacco has the kind of game that can take the Broncos to the promise land remains to be seen. But with his experience and skill, you would think their odds would improve—but they didn’t.

Back on February 3, BetOnline had the Broncos odds at +6600; as of February 13, they are +10000. Bovada’s odds went from +10000 to +12500. But their average odds come in closer to +8800 (still not good, but not as bad).

The story is more what you would expect for the Ravens. Before the trade was announced, Bovada had the odds of the Ravens winning the Super Bowl set at +3200. But post-trade announcement, their odds improved to +2800.

The action on the Ravens isn’t too surprising. As long as the Ravens had Flacco on the roster, the team would be tempted to pull Jackson whenever he had a rough passing day. While doing so could help the team win a game or two, it would create a divide over who should be the quarterback.

By eliminating the possibility, the Ravens will be able to develop Jackson further as a quarterback, thus improving their odds.

So then why the longer odds for the Broncos? Flacco wasn’t that bad, was he?

He wasn’t that bad, but he wasn’t that good either. Since leading the Ravens to the Super Bowl six years ago, he has thrown 110 touchdowns and 80 interceptions with a rating of just 82.3. Over the last two years, his rating has been a little worse (81.9).

Keenum’s stats over the last two seasons are better than Flacco’s, but they are a little inflated due to the year he had in Minnesota.       

But Flacco has not had much to work with on offense for the last couple years. Back in 2016, when he threw for 4000+ yards, he had three good pass catchers to work with (Mike Wallace, Steve Smith, and Dennis Pitta).

Denver has many of the pieces in place to make a run. But they just need to find the right one to make it all work. They have a good run game and some potential at wide receiver in Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders. If Flacco can connect with them downfield, something Keenum struggled with last season, their offense could be deadly.

If the addition of Flacco lets John Elway draft help at linebacker or in the secondary, the defense could get back to its dominant ways as well.

Does this mean they could be contenders? Maybe– but not necessarily, but wouldn’t you like to be the guy who put $50 down on a team that was +8800 that won the Super Bowl?

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