It will be a very interesting playoff opener for the Browns. What will they do with Joe Flacco next year if he leads them to a win on the road against the AFC South champion (be it Jacksonville, Houston or Indy)?

It’s been a long time since Deshaun Watson has played at high level. He’s been underwhelming in two seasons with the Browns and chose not to play for Houston in 2021. But at the same time, Watson signed a five-year contract worth $230 million, with all of the money guaranteed.

Flacco seems like a much better fit for Kevin Stefanski’s offense, with more ability to connect on downfield passes. He’s thrown for 300-plus yards and multiple touchdowns in each of his last four games.

Flacco, it should be noted has also mixed in some wildly ill-advised throws. He’s thrown interceptions in all of those games. If he throws for 300-plus yards and an interception in his next start, he’ll tie the longest such streak in league history.

2018Patrick MahomesK.C.5
2023Joe FlaccoCle.4
2022Patrick MahomesK.C.4
2018Deshaun WatsonHou.4
2011Drew BreesN.O.4
2010Matt SchaubHou.4
2000Kurt WarnerSt.L.4

Statistics compiled using search tools at

Flacco is also 39 years old. But if he plays reasonably well in the postseason, I think the Browns will want to bring him back. (I don’t think any other teams will have much interest in signing him.)

Given the financial commitment, I think the Browns have no real choice but to trudge forward with Watson, hoping he can re-emerge as an above-average quarterback. But if the 2024 season begins and there’s no sign of that happening, I could see them choosing to put Flacco in the starting lineup while Watson tries to repair his game on the practice field.

Which brings us to dynasty leagues (which I visit once a week during the regular season). In such a format, with teams controlling player rights indefinitely, I could see rostering Flacco about 30 quarterbacks into a draft. That may seem high, but he’ll be pushed down another five spots after the college draft in April.

I think it’s fair to compare Flacco in such a format with the likes of Russell Wilson, Kenny Pickett, Desmond Ridder, Sam Howell and Aidan O’Connell. If Flacco were to get some starts for the 2024 Browns, I could see him delivering some decent games. But Watson is still the quarterback there that they’re banking on; I see Watson as a low-level second quarterback in such a format.

Updated rankings appear below. Rookies tagged with black dots. Assuming standard scoring on this one.

To see rankings for the other notable positions (RB, WR, TE) use the “past issues” navigation box on this page.

1.KCPatrick Mahomes28.3
2.CINJoe Burrow27.1
3.HOU• C.J. Stroud22.3
4.BUFJosh Allen27.6
5.PHIJalen Hurts25.4
6.SFBrock Purdy24.0
7.BALLamar Jackson27.0
8.LACJustin Herbert25.8
9.JACTrevor Lawrence24.2
10.IND• Anthony Richardson21.6
11.DALDak Prescott30.4
12.GBJordan Love25.2
13.DETJared Goff29.2
14.ARIKyler Murray26.4
15.MIATua Tagovailoa25.8
16.MINKirk Cousins35.4
17.CHIJustin Fields24.8
18.LARMatthew Stafford35.9
19.NYJAaron Rodgers40.1
20.TBBaker Mayfield28.7
21.CAR• Bryce Young22.4
22.CLEDeshaun Watson28.3
23.TEN• Will Levis24.5
24.NYGDaniel Jones26.6
25.NODerek Carr32.8
26.SEAGeno Smith33.2
27.DENJarrett Stidham27.4
28.CLEJoe Flacco39.0
29.PITKenny Pickett25.6
30.WASSam Howell23.3
31.LV• Aidan O'Connell25.3
32.DENRussell Wilson35.1
33.DET• Hendon Hooker26.0
34.INDGardner Minshew28.6
35.NEBailey Zappe24.7
36.ATLDesmond Ridder24.3
37.NEMac Jones25.3
38.SFSam Darnold26.6
39.LARCarson Wentz31.0
40.CHI• Tyson Bagent23.6

—Ian Allan