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Browns general manager Andrew Berry would 'absolutely love' to have Joe Flacco back in 2024

Joe Flacco's magical, off-the-couch run with the Browns saw them reach the playoffs despite an avalanche of key injuries. In the process, Flacco reintroduced himself to the football world.

The 38-year-old quarterback carried Cleveland's offense in his five regular-season starts, winning all but his first. He threw for 300-plus passing yards in each of his final four regular-season outings, setting a Browns franchise record for the longest such streak in team history and becoming the second-oldest QB to do so behind only Tom Brady in NFL history.

As Mark Wahlberg once said in the 2010 film, The Fighter, many of the defenses Flacco faced likely reached the same conclusion: "He did not just come off the couch. If he did, I want to buy a couch like that." The Browns, meanwhile, saw enough to be quite interested in keeping Flacco around in 2024.

"We'd absolutely love to have Joe back, he's a good quarterback," Browns general manager Andrew Berry said Monday. "I guess maybe a little bit similar to Jacoby (Brissett) last year. It depends, right? I want to bring all of our good players back, but there are constraints to that. … Would have no problem having Joe back."

It is vitally important to note that Flacco would not return to compete for Cleveland's starting job, instead sticking around to serve as the backup to the Browns' $230 million dollar man, Deshaun Watson. Some Browns fans who quickly latched onto Flacco might argue otherwise, but from a franchise planning and financial perspective, it's clear who is QB1 in Cleveland, even after Flacco's arrival boosted the Browns' offense to levels unseen since the days of Derek Anderson.

The best way to avoid fueling a fire of controversy is to make this fact clear from the beginning, and once that's been taken care of, Berry said the Browns have no reason to worry about the optics of the depth chart, should Flacco be on it in 2024.

"Zero consideration. Zero consideration because of how both individuals are," Berry said. "It's not a concern internally at all."

A possible return of the veteran would provide the Browns with a trusted option behind Watson, something they lacked in 2023 after Brissett departed for Washington. It took a shot in the dark via a call to Flacco to essentially save the Browns from entering a tailspin, producing results beyond even the wildest of brown and orange imaginations.

Flacco fever burned out in a disastrous wild-card loss to Houston, leaving Browns fans with the pain of a postseason loss, but the consolation of a satisfying run to the playoffs. Because of Flacco, the Browns returned to what they called their "second season" when they had every reason not to.

"He played winning football for us," Berry said of Flacco. "He did a great job of coming in and really playing at a high level that allowed us to go on a run at the end of the year. They played really good football in December -- even if maybe we ended a little bit with a thud against Houston in the wild-card round. Really pleased with what Joe did on the field, pleased with who he was as a teammate.

"In terms of the quarterback room, we've always valued the quarterback position. I think if you look at our history over the last four offseasons, we've always been towards the top of the league in backup quarterback expenditures and resources. … I believe backup quarterback is a top-30 position on the roster. We do believe in carrying three."

Flacco had nothing but great things to say about his time spent in Cleveland, which came out of seemingly nowhere and provided him with a dream-like ride in a season in which he found himself without opportunity.

"Man, Cleveland was unbelievable," Flacco said during an appearance on Barstool Sports' *Pardon My Take podcast*. "I am definitely open to being back in Cleveland. At the same point, I don't want to rush any decisions, either. I didn't know what the market for QBs was gonna look like last spring, and I don't know what it's gonna look like this spring. So I don't know if I'm gonna have options, or if I'm gonna have zero options.

"I loved Cleveland, though. I loved the building, the people, everything about it. ... I can't say enough good things about how that organization is being run right now."

We'll see if his six games played in Cleveland will lead to another season with the Browns.

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