Fri Feb 22 3:22pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer
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.''
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 2
Las Vegas Raiders TE Jason Witten posted one grab for three yards on his only target in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints.
Fantasy Spin: Witten won't sniff the field for many snaps as long as Darren Waller is healthy and running hot. He is more of an on-field coach and mentor at this point of his career. His fantasy value is rather negligible at the moment. The Raiders travel to meet the Patriots in Week 3.
Las Vegas Raiders WR Nelson Agholor was limited to just one reception for 19 yards on one target in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints.
Fantasy Spin: Agholor was mostly invisible, with fellow wideouts Bryan Edwards (two), Hunter Renfrow (three) and Henry Ruggs III (three) each seeing more targets, and Zay Jones scoring the lone touchdown among the group. As such, Agholor has a ways to go before regaining fantasy relevance. The Raiders travel to meet the Patriots in Week 3.
Las Vegas Raiders WR Zay Jones posted a 15-yard touchdown on his only target in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints.
Fantasy Spin: Despite the score he isn't someone for fantasy owners to count upon going forward outside of the very, very deepest of leagues. The Raiders travel to meet the Patriots in Week 3.
Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr completed 28-of-38 passes for 282 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints.
Fantasy Spin: Carr's favorite target was Darren Waller (12-103-1), and he targeted the tight end 16 times while targeting 10 others players a total of just 18 times. The Raiders travel to meet the New England Patriots in Week 3.
Las Vegas Raiders RB Jalen Richard rushed twice for 26 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown scamper, in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints.
Fantasy Spin: It wasn't a great night, and he didn't have any receptions. Two touches, even with a touchdown, won't make him terribly attractive for fantasy owners in most leagues. The Raiders travel to meet the Patriots in Week 3.
New Orleans Saints S Malcolm Jenkins posted seven total stops, a sack, a tackle for loss, a pass defensed and a quarterback hit in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
New Orleans Saints TE Jared Cook posted just two grabs for 13 yards on five targets in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders, but he was able to score a touchdown.
Fantasy Spin: Cook salvaged the line with the touchdown, even if his yardage total was way down. He had five grabs for 80 yards in Week 1, so he has found a way to contribute each game. He remains a decent low-end TE1 in leagues of 12 or more teams heading into Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers.
New Orleans Saints LB Demario Davis registered eight total stops with one tackle for loss and a pass defensed in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
New Orleans Saints CB P.J. Williams posted seven total tackles, including five solo stops, and he added a fumble recovery in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
New Orleans Saints WR Emmanuel Sanders registered just one catch for 18 yards on three targets in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Fantasy Spin: Sanders was very disappointing given the fact Michael Thomas was out due to injury and he figured to have a much larger role. Fantasy owners will want to keep him reserved until he gets more acclimated to his new surroundings and he gets more involved. The Packers visit the Saints in Week 3.
New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz connected on his only field-goal attempt and made three extra points in the Week 2 loss to the Raiders. Lutz didn't get to try for many field goals considering the Saints offense capitalized with touchdowns when they were in the red zone. As part of a high-octane offense, Lutz remains a weekly starter considering his large role and reliability.
New Orleans Saints WR Ty Montgomery posted two receptions for 25 yards on three targets in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Fantasy Spin: Montgomery is a versatile player who has lined up in the backfield for rushes, as well as as a wideout, during his time with the Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets. However, he has plenty of company at both spots and isn't going to get enough touches to make him fantasy worthy in most leagues.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara had a tremendous performance in the Week 2 loss to the Raiders, getting 13 carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns along with leading the team with nine receptions for 95 yards on nine targets. The absence of Michael Thomas thrust Kamara into a huge role and he put on a great display in both the passing and rushing game. He remains a solid RB1 going forward.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith came through in the Week 2 loss to Las Vegas, getting five receptions for 86 yards on seven targets. With Michael Thomas sidelined, it was only natural to see Smith see some more targets and he delivered with a great performance. He should see some targets as long as Thomas is out, keeping him in the flex tier for the foreseeable future.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders only managed one reception for 18 yards on three targets in the Week 2 loss to the Raiders. It was certainly a disappointing performance for the temporary WR1 of the Saints as Drew Brees even eclipsed 300 passing yards. Sanders will look to get back on track in Week 3 against the Packers, but his value should be downgraded to a flex considering his Week 2 struggles.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook only managed two receptions for 13 yards on five targets in the Week 2 loss to the Raiders. After coming off an 80-yard performance in Week 1, the tight end was certainly disappointing. Nevertheless, with Michael Thomas sidelined, he should still see a decent number of targets and can redeem himself in Week 3. Cook can be explosive, thus keeping him in the TE1 tier going forward.
New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara rushed 13 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns and he also added team highs with nine receptions, 95 yards and nine targets in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Fantasy Spin: Kamara was the apple of Drew Brees' eye with Michael Thomas inactive due to injury. Kamara is off to a monster start for fantasy owners, posting just 95 rushing yards in two games, but he has three rushing scores with 14 receptions, 146 receiving yards and another score through the air. Next up is a home game against the Green Bay Packers on SNF in Week 3.
New Orleans Saints RB Latavius Murray rushed three times for 14 yards and he added two receptions for 19 yards on two targets in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Fantasy Spin: Murray's touches will be limited as long as Alvin Kamara is healthy and going well. He is a solid handcuff for Kamara and only worth starting in the deepest of fantasy leagues heading into Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers.
New Orleans Saints WR Tre'Quan Smith posted five receptions for 86 yards on seven targets in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders, leading all wide receivers in yardage.
Fantasy Spin: Smith stepped up with Michael Thomas sidelined due to injury. In fact, he was the only effective wideout for Drew Brees in this one. If Thomas is sidelined again in Week 3, Smith is worth a look as a WR4 or flex fantasy option on Sunday Night Football against the Green Bay Packers.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees went 26-for-38 and put up 312 yards, one touchdown, and one pick in the loss to the Raiders on Monday. After a hot start, the Saints cooled down and the offense couldn't get going deeper into the game. It was obvious the absence of Michael Thomas was felt, but this was the type of performance that is now expected of Brees, which is generally not explosive in terms of touchdowns. He should remain a low-end QB1 or high QB2 going forward.