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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) looks for a receiver as Ravens offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, second from right, blocks Broncos linebacker Von Miller in this AP file photo.

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If you wondered how bad Case Keenum was, the Broncos have traded for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

That's how bad Case Keenum was.

Flacco's 34. He's the only quarterback since 2002 not named Brady, Manning or Roethlisberger to lead an AFC team to the Super Bowl. Last season he lost his starting spot in Baltimore to rookie Lamar Jackson.

On the coldest night in Broncos history, Flacco authored the Mile High Mistake. The Broncos' mission now is to make sure this isn't the Mile High Mistake Part II: they still must spend a high draft pick on a quarterback.

Do you think Joe Flacco will be an upgrade from Case Keenum?

You voted:

It's clear the Broncos believe they are closer to being a contender than recent results suggest. Rebuild? What rebuild? It's also a sign general manager John Elway is about to attack free agency like he did in 2014 in an attempt to squeeze every ounce from the Von Miller era. 

While some would argue it's still too soon to recap the crushing playoff loss after the 2012 season, the Broncos turned to Flacco to help stop the rare three-year playoff drought in Colorado. And here's the QB chronology if you're keeping score at home: Tebow, Manning, Osweiler, Siemian, Lynch, Keenum, Flacco.

If nothing else, the Broncos certainly have covered the gamut.

Both Elway and head coach Vic Fangio offered plenty of clues that Keenum was history here. "Right now Case is our quarterback," said Fangio, who had keen insight on Keenum after game-planning against the Vikings in 2017. 

The Broncos reportedly gave up a fourth-round pick in exchange for Flacco. Last year they traded Demaryius Thomas for a fourth pick.

Denver also hired an offensive coordinator in Rich Scangarello whose background is in the Shanahan/Kubiak-style offense where Flacco has operated for over a decade with the Ravens.

Flacco was 42-41 in his past five seasons after going 54-26 his first six seasons. And maybe this was the kicker: the Broncos already have a poster of Flacco to decorate Mile High.

The Broncos hired a coach who will be 61 when the regular season starts and traded for a 34-year-old quarterback. They are emphasizing the win-now part of the equation. They must not forget the win-from-now-on part. Keenum was not the answer to any of the Broncos' questions, and trading for Flacco should not deter Denver from drafting a quarterback — even with the No. 10 pick.

Joe Flacco is a Delaware Blue Hen, a Super Bowl champion, a man who's banked $147 million in football, the neighbor who's glad to share his snow shovel, a little boring. Now he's the Broncos starting quarterback. 

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)

Sports columnist

Denver sports columnist for The Gazette

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