While the rest of the AFC North has been busy filling headlines this offseason, the Ravens have remained relatively quiet.
The Browns signed Kareem Hunt to a deal as the NFL is still deciding on a punishment for the running back, and Antonio Brown formally asks for a trade from the Steelers after a saga of drama between the two sides since Week 17.
However, the Ravens have now taken over headlines, as they have a deal in place to start their new era of Baltimore football.
Breaking: Baltimore has agreement in principle to trade former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco to the Broncos, league sources told ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 13, 2019
Trade cannot be processed until new NFL league year begins Wednesday, March 13. Teams prohibited from commenting on deal or terms surrounding it.
It has been rumored that the Ravens will be receiving a fourth-round pick in exchange for Joe Flacco, but without the ability to actually confirm that at this time means you should take it with a grain of salt (for now).
Flacco has experienced a fall from grace ever since his magical run at the end of the 2012 season. He led Baltimore to a Super Bowl victory over the 49ers, and it allowed Ray Lewis to retire a champion.
Since then, Flacco has struggled to replicate that same magic. He became the highest paid player following his Super Bowl run as he was set to become a free agent. He has never really lived up to that hype, even though he no longer holds that distinction.
Since 2012, he has only reached 20 touchdowns twice (20 in 2016 and 27 in 2014). He has also thrown at least 12 interceptions in every season aside from 2018 when he was benched for Lamar Jackson.
It should also be noted Flacco has had grown to be prone to injuries as he has entered his 30s. He finished last season prematurely with a hip issue before being permanently replaced by Jackson even when Flacco was healthy enough to play.
Baltimore is riding high after inserting Lamar Jackson as the starter spurred their unlikely playoff run. The team won six of their final seven games with Jackson as the starter. The rookie also almost led an improbable comeback in the Wild Card game after playing poorly through the first half.
Cleveland adds Hunt
It is always a touchy subject when a player like Hunt, whose rap sheet is centered around an assault on a woman. Unfortunately, there will always be fans who will try and diminish what the player did, we have seen that among our own fan base with Joe Mixon. At some point we need to find an area where people understand it is okay to condemn these people for their actions, while understanding the NFL obviously doesn’t care what you’ve done if you can help them win football games. That is the sad truth, and if you have a problem with that, it is completely understandable.
With the Browns adding Hunt, it is confusing from the standpoint that the team dealt Carlos Hyde last season to better feature Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson Jr., so adding an obvious P.R. nightmare to the locker room seems unnecessary.
It could obviously pay huge dividends if Hunt returns to form and stays out of trouble, but with a team who has a history of players having issues staying out of trouble, this just seems to have plenty of opportunity to blow up in Cleveland’s face. The reward is clear, but the risk is as well.
Business is moving
As for the Steelers, Brown is officially asking other teams what he can do for them. The All-Pro receiver finally made it official that he wants out of Pittsburgh.
Thank you SteelerNation for a big 9 years...time to move on and forward..........✌ #NewDemands pic.twitter.com/fbIoFNdqK4— Antonio Brown (@AB84) February 12, 2019
This has been a long drawn out circus, that I personally have loved watching. This was an inevitable step. There was little to no chance that both sides could reconcile after this offseason.
The next step will be seeing who will be willing to take on Brown’s $22 million cap number next season. That right there could be the biggest reason why you may be surprised at how low the return for such a successful player will end up being. Brown has done the Steelers no favors by very publicly worsening the situation throughout the process. Pittsburgh has also likely leaked a few of Brown’s less than attractive details as well though.
It will be interesting to see who ends up with Brown, and how the Steelers will move forward without him and Le’Veon Bell next season.