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AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans

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INDIANAPOLISThe man behind Anthony Richardson in 2024 is one that actually brings similar arm strength, and quite the bit of playoff experience to the backup quarterback position.

Flacco, 39, carries a resume of 185 career starts to Indy, which doesn’t include a very impressive 10-6 mark as a starter in the playoffs.

The one-year deal for Flacco is reportedly for $4.5 million guaranteed, with incentives that would push that contract north of $8 million

While there’s obviously no dual-threat comparison between Richardson and Flacco, the two are similar as a thrower, in that both have the ability to challenge defenses down the field.

Flacco averaged an impressive 7.9 yards per attempt last season, which indicates there’s still plenty of downfield arm talent in the former Super Bowl champ. And that’s a major difference from Gardner Minshew, with Flacco carrying an arm strength trait which matches up much more with Richardson.

The Browns went 4-1 with Flacco as their starter, winning pivotal late-season games to clinch their playoff spot. It was a nice turnaround for Flacco, who had gone 3-14 in his previous 17 starts. Flacco won the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year with the Browns.

Shane Steichen does have a direct relationship with Flacco. In 2021, Flacco spent that offseason with the Philadelphia Eagles, backing up Jalen Hurts. Flacco actually was with the Eagles for the first month and a half of the ’21 season, before the Eagles traded Flacco to the Jets.

Even if Flacco never takes a meaningful snap for the Colts—which would be great news for Richardson—he offers Richardson about as veteran of a QB as they come in the backup role, and is one with ample playoff experience, plus multiple stops in the NFL.

Across his 16 years in the NFL, Flacco has seen the consistency of the Ravens and the dysfunction of the Jets, which should bring important tutelage to Richardson.

Back at the NFL Combine, Chris Ballard made it clear that finding a backup who stylistically matched up with Richardson wasn’t a focus. It was more about finding a guy the Colts felt like they could “win with” if that player was needed.

Flacco proved last year he could still be that guy.

Along with Richardson and Flacco, Sam Ehlinger and Kellen Mond are both still under contract with the Colts.


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