Joe Flacco, the NFL’s Comebacker Player of the Year for the 2023 season, won’t be heading back home to await a call from another franchise. 

Flacco and the Indianapolis Colts reached a deal for one year worth up to $8.7 million, ESPN reported on Wednesday. Flacco gets $4.5 million guaranteed in the deal. 

With Gardner Minshew leaving for the Las Vegas Raiders in free agency, the Colts needed another backup for Anthony Richardson, their fourth overall pick last year who suffered a shoulder injury that ended his rookie season prematurely. 

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Flacco didn’t start the year with any franchise, but the Cleveland Browns came calling when Deshaun Watson’s season ended due to a shoulder injury. 

Flacco was signed to the practice squad in late November, and after head coach Kevin Stefanski tried rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson first as Watson’s replacement, Flacco earned his first start two weeks later. 

JOE FLACCO NAMED NFL COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR AFTER MIRACULOUS RUN WITH BROWNS

What transpired was jaw-dropping, as Flacco looked like his Super Bowl self, becoming the first player in league history to throw for over 250 yards and multiple touchdowns in his first five games with a new team. 

Flacco went under center, and Stefanski did not have training wheels on his playbooks. The first start, a 36-19 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, saw Flacco throw for 254 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. 

But from there, the Browns never lost on their way to a wild card berth. Flacco helped Cleveland to a four-game win streak, averaging 340.5 yards per game with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He didn’t even need to play the final regular-season game after clinching. 

Flacco, 39, wasn’t able to keep his streak alive in the playoffs, though, falling to rookie phenom C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans in the Wild Card Round. Still, Flacco’s efforts, which no one saw coming, helped a desperate team reach their playoff goals.

While the Colts certainly hope Richardson can have a healthy 2024 season, knowing Flacco is backing him up — and he clearly still has some left in the tank — gives solace to head coach Shane Steichen in case Richardson can’t play at any point. 

Flacco will enter his 17th NFL season, most of which came with the Baltimore Ravens where he won the Super Bowl in 2013 and was named Super Bowl MVP. He’s also spent time with the Denver Broncos and New York Jets. 

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