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The Browns Will Have A New Backup Quarterback In 2024

Joe Flacco's time in Cleveland is likely over after Browns agree to terms on a one-year deal with Jameis Winston to be the team's backup QB

The Browns slammed the door on a potential Joe Flacco Reunion on Tuesday. 

Multiple reports indicate the franchise will finalize a deal with veteran quarterback Jameis Winston when the new league year opens at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. The deal, which can't be made official until that time, is for one year and up to $8.7 million according to Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report, who was the first to break the news of Winston's signing. 

If Winston earns the entire $8.7 million he'd outpace former Browns backup Jacoby Brissett, who set the market for backups by signing an $8 million contract with the Patriots.

Browns general manager Andrew Berry stated at his end of season press conference that the team values the backup QB job as a top 30 position on the roster. He backed up those statements by giving Winston $8.7 million to serve in the role next year.

One of the biggest reasons for the Browns interest in Winston is his noted relationship with Deshaun Watson. With new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey set to reshape the offense to play to Watson's strengths, Winston was considered a better system fit and younger option to serve as the team's primary backup.

The move symbolizes the end of what was a magical but short lived era with veteran quarterback Joe Flacco, who became a fan favorite last season. After joining the Browns in Week 12, Flacco assumed the starting quarterback role one week later and went on to post a 4-1 record and lift Cleveland to a wild card berth.

In the process he threw for 1,616 yards and 13 touchdowns and fell in love with the city. The feeling was mutual as Browns fans also fell in love with Flacco, as his feel good story from couch to career revival helped him earn the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year Award. Many fans had hoped to see Flacco return to Cleveland next season as the primary backup to Deshaun Watson. Instead, Winston will assume that role in 2024. 

The No. 1 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers  in 2015, Winston exhausted his rookie contract with the Bucs before beginning a four year stint with their NFC South Rival New Orleans. Winston put up back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons to begin his career but became known  – like Flacco – for being a little too risky with the football, throwing 33 touchdowns in those first two seasons as well.

In 2019, Winston threw for a career high 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns, but also threw 30 interceptions – becoming the first player in NFL history to reach a 30-plus plateau in both those categories in a single season.

During his with the Saints, Winston carved out a nice role as a backup to Drew Brees before getting a chance to start in 2021 following the future Hall of Famer's retirement. He was 5-2 while throwing for 1,170 yards in seven starts to go along with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions before having his season upended bu a serious knee injury.

This past season he also appeared in seven games, completing just over 53-percent of his passes for 264 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Keep up with all of the Browns offseason moves with our Free Agency Tracker.