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Case Keenum surprised Broncos trading for Flacco

Fri Feb 22 3:22pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Joe Flacco, Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas, Case Keenum, Kirk Cousins

In this Oct. 7, 2018, file photo, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, in Cleveland. A person with knowledge of the trade tells The Associated Press, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, that the Denver Broncos have agreed to acquire Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in exchange for a fourth-round pick in this year's NFL draft. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither team announced the deal.(AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)


In this March 16, 2018, file photo, Denver Broncos general manager John Elway, left, shakes hands with Case Keenum during a news conference to introduce him as the new starting quarterback of the Broncos at the team's headquarters, in Englewood, Colo. Count Keenum among those who were stunned by Elway's decision to replace him with Joe Flacco after just one season as the Broncos' starting quarterback. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) A lot of fans were stunned by Denver Broncos general manager John Elway's decision to replace quarterback Case Keenum with Joe Flacco.

Count Keenum among them.

Appearing on the Sports Spectrum Podcast this week with his wife, Kimberly, Keenum said he was caught off guard when he was informed the Broncos and Ravens had the framework in place for a trade that will end Keenum's stint as the Broncos starting QB after just one season.

Neither the Broncos nor the Ravens, or even Flacco, can formally acknowledge the trade until it becomes official when the new league year begins March 13.

Keenum is under no such gag order.

''Elway called me that morning and we had a great conversation, which he didn't have to do, and I appreciated that,'' Keenum said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast this week.

''I was definitely shocked, it was a surprise for us ... we're definitely disappointed, it's not something we wanted to happen. I know that everybody's doing their job and John feels like that was a chance for him to help the Broncos out.''

A year ago, Keenum was a hot commodity, second only to Kirk Cousins among available veteran quarterbacks. He was coming off a breakout season in Minnesota, where he went 11-3 and helped the Vikings reach the NFC championship game.

When the Vikings signed Cousins, Keenum inked a two-year, $36 million deal with Denver that included $25 million guaranteed. The couple bought a home in Denver and Keenum said he hoped to turn his short-term deal into a long-term situation.

He got off to a slow start last season, however, throwing interceptions in Denver's first eight games on his way to a career-high 15 interceptions, which tied for second-most in the NFL.

Preaching patience became a weekly mantra of his with Keenum expressing confidence he and his new teammates and coaches would eventually adjust to each other in time to make a late-season run.

By December the Broncos weren't rolling but staggering, bedeviled by an injury epidemic that had waylaid three O-line starters and the team's top two tight ends. On Dec. 5, Emmanuel Sanders, who rose to No. 1 receiving threat when Demaryius Thomas was traded to Houston, tore an Achilles at practice.

The Broncos lost their final four games, finishing 6-10 for their first back-to-back losing seasons since the Nixon Administration. That led Elway to fire Vance Joseph and replace him with Vic Fangio . Keenum wasn't among the players who attended Fangio's introductory news conference because he was on vacation out of the country.

As he cleaned out his locker after the final game, Keenum said, ''I learned a lot this year. I learned what it is to be a franchise quarterback.''

Elway clearly didn't see Keenum in that way.

So, he's moving on to another veteran in Flacco, 34, who will be Denver's fifth starting quarterback since Peyton Manning retired after winning the Super Bowl three years ago.

Keenum is slated to count $21 million against the salary cap next season, which is actually more than Flacco's $18.5 million salary cap hit.

That Broncos are hoping a trade partner emerges or that they can restructure Keenum's contract to a figure more befitting a backup. Otherwise, releasing him would cost them $7 million but save them $11 million.

Keenum seems to believe his time with the Broncos is over.

''My time with the Broncos has been really special,'' he said on the podcast. ''I have enjoyed every second of it. I have absolutely been so proud to wake up every day and to walk into that building to represent the Broncos as their quarterback. ... It was an honor.''

Player Notes
Kareem Hunt Mar 25 7:50pm ET

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Derek Carr Mar 25 7:40pm ET

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Jeremy Maclin Mar 24 9:31pm ET

Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin announced on Sunday that he is retiring from the NFL after 10 years. Maclin was drafted in the first round in 2009 and spent six seasons with the Eagles alongside DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. He is the 10th leading receiver in Philly franchise history after compiling 343 catches, 4,771 receiving yards and 36 touchdowns. Maclin spent the last three years struggling with the Chiefs and Ravens.

Rob Gronkowski Mar 24 6:13pm ET

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL Sunday, March 24.

Fantasy Spin: The Patriots have lost Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen this offseason, so they probably will be looking for a tight end early in the 2019 NFL Draft. None of the other tight ends on the Patriots roster have a lot of fantasy value.

Rob Gronkowski Mar 24 6:10pm ET

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced on Sunday that he is retiring. The 29-year-old Gronk finished on a high note in the postseason and goes out on top with another Super Bowl ring, but he struggled to gain separation from defenders in the regular season and finished with 47 catches for 682 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season in 13 games. Gronkowski had four 1,000-yard receiving seasons and amassed a whopping 79 regular season scores in his nine-year career. He'll go down as one of the most dominant tight ends in NFL history. With Gronk no longer around, Stephen Anderson will be the top tight end on the depth chart, although he won't be much of a fantasy consideration. Losing Gronk as a safety blanket will surely affect quarterback Tom Brady negatively moving forward.

From RotoBaller

Jeremy Maclin Mar 24 5:43pm ET

Free-agent WR Jeremy Maclin (Ravens) announced his retirement Sunday, March 24.

Michael Johnson Mar 24 4:03pm ET

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George Iloka Mar 24 4:00pm ET

The Dallas Cowboys signed free-agent safety George Iloka to an undisclosed one-year deal on Saturday, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. The seven-year safety played the first six seasons of his career with the Bengals but disappointed with only 16 tackles in 16 games (three starts) for the Vikings in 2018. It's looking like Iloka will have a starting role with his new team in Dallas.

From RotoBaller

Bryce Callahan Mar 24 12:33pm ET

Denver Broncos CB Bryce Callahan (foot) is unlikely to participate in the team's draft-week minicamp as he recovers from a foot injury, head coach Vic Fangio said Sunday, March 24.

Clay Harbor Mar 24 11:43am ET

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Jameis Winston Mar 24 2:13am ET

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Fantasy Spin: It's unclear why Winston feels the need to put on weight, although fantasy owners will probably take it if it allows him to stay on the field and improve on his deep passing. The arrival of head coach Bruce Arians figures to be a boon to his career, and there is little question he has a capable supporting cast with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard as his primary targets. If he doesn't thrive this season, he'll likely have no one but himself to blame.

Adrian Peterson Mar 23 11:13pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Peterson rushed for 1,042 yards last year, but with Derrius Guice expected to be fully recovered from a knee injury, Peterson looks like more of a handcuff than a fantasy starter.

George Iloka Mar 23 9:33pm ET

Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys SS George Iloka has agreed to a one-year deal, according to a source.

George Iloka Mar 23 9:23pm ET

Free-agent SS George Iloka (Vikings) has agreed to sign with the Dallas Cowboys Saturday, March 23, according to a source.

George Iloka Mar 23 5:03pm ET

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Neiko Thorpe Mar 23 2:33pm ET

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Malcolm Mitchell Mar 23 1:43pm ET

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Rashaan Melvin Mar 23 1:00am ET

The Detroit Lions signed free-agent cornerback Rashaan Melvin to a one-year, $3.5 million deal on Friday, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Melvin played for the Patriots in 2015 when head coach Matt Patricia was the defensive coordinator. The 29-year-old has been mostly a starter the last three seasons with the Colts and Raiders and had a career-high three interceptions with the Colts in 2017. He could be the replacement for Nevin Lawson, who signed with the Raiders earlier this week.

From RotoBaller

Mike Glennon Mar 23 12:50am ET

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From RotoBaller

Russell Wilson Mar 22 10:43pm ET

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