If the Denver Broncos can’t land Aaron Rodgers in a trade, they need to figure out Plan B and fast as the new league year approaches.
The Denver Broncos need to figure out their quarterback problem.
Since Peyton Manning retired following Denver’s Super Bowl 50 triumph over the Carolina Panthers, the Broncos have been stuck with a litany of different signal-callers. None of them good.
We’ve seen Trevor Siemian, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater. Each has failed to lead Denver into the playoffs, giving it five consecutive seasons without an extra game. To find a stretch of Broncos football this bad, you need to travel back before the team’s first Super Bowl appearance, going to 1972-76.
Entering this offseason, Denver general manager George Paton has to figure out what’s next. Bridgewater is hitting free agency and Lock is entering the final year of his rookie deal not having shown much promise. While there’s been talk of Aaron Rodgers eventually wanting to join former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett in the Mile High City, there’s been plenty of other chatter about him staying put.
If Rodgers demands a trade from Green Bay, Denver appears the clear favorite. However, if the Packers and Rodgers remain a couple for at least one more season, then what?
The free-agency options are brutal. Jameis Winston, Tyrod Taylor, Marcus Mariota, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mitchell Trubisky and the like don’t represent any significant upgrade from Bridgewater, if any at all. The Broncos could call the Indianapolis Colts and gauge the price for Carson Wentz, or even sign him off the market if he’s released. However, again, how much does Wentz really close the gap between Denver and the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West?
The problem is finding better alternatives without Rodgers being the answer. Paton could go into the NFL Draft come April and target a quarterback, but it’s almost universally believed to be a poor class for quarterbacks. Malik Willis of Liberty has tools but is best-suited for development over his first year, similar to Trey Lance. Kenny Pickett, Carson Strong and Matt Corral are intriguing, but again, most see more project than instant prospect.
For the Broncos, the offseason doesn’t start until they upgrade at quarterback. Without that, everything else is pointless.