The Denver Bronco Quarterback Carousel
The quarterback is the most important position in football, and arguably the most important position in sports. NFL teams spend years looking for their franchise QB- just look at the Cleveland Browns.
The Denver Broncos have had the honor and privilege of having Peyton Manning as their quarterback- over the last 4 years. We all suspected this would be the last season with Manning under center with an NFL team. As the season went on, the clearer it became that he was running on fumes. It was his time to go.
Peyton Manning out, and Brock Osweiler in… Right? Nope. Many people thought at the end of the season Manning would retire, and John Elway would hand the keys over to Osweiler.
That was probably Denver’s initial plan, and I cannot blame them.
Osweiler helped lead Denver to the playoffs. He played in 8 games last year, winning 5 of those 8. He threw for nearly 2,000 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions.
In my opinion, he had done enough to earn a mid-level contract spanning over 3-4 years. I think Denver was more than ready to give him that, but I don’t think anyone thought the Houston Texans would give him the mega-contract that they did (4-year/ $72 million).
Denver would have been absolutely insane to match that contract, and they didn’t. They made the right call letting Osweiler walk, but who will be the next QB for Denver?
Rumors point to NFL-journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, or current 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. I think either of these guys are decent options.
Fitzpatrick had a career year last year in New York. He threw for nearly 4,000 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. He led the Jets to a 10 win season for the first time since 2010, and the second time in almost 10 years. The trouble with Denver signing Fitzpatrick is both his age (33) and the fact he is asking for too much money.
According to CBSSport.com, Fitzpatrick is looking to get somewhere around what Sam Bradford earns (18 million a year). The money he wants doesn’t quite make sense because that he is an inconsistent 33-year-old QB. If Denver decides he is their guy, they can expect more QB turnover in the near future, and I am not talking about the interceptions that Fitzpatrick will throw.
Trading for Colin Kaepernick presents different issues for Denver. Unlike Fitzpatrick, Kaepernick’s age (28) is not an issue, but Kaepernick is slated to earn 12 million dollars in 2016. Denver only has 17 million dollars in cap space. It would be foolish to give Kaepernick, a quarterback who recently lost his starting job to Blaine Gabbert, over 3 fourths of their remaining cap space.
Another problem with Denver trading for Kaepernick is that he wants to be a Cleveland Brown. According to ESPN, Kaepernick has ties with the coaching staff in Cleveland and feels he is a good fit with the Browns. Why trade for a guy that is expensive, inconsistent, and wants to be in Cleveland?
Recently Denver acquired former 1st round pick Mark Sanchez. I think that was a brilliant move. He is about the same type of passer as both Fitzpatrick and Kaepernick, but he is substantially less expensive. His time in Philadelphia wasn’t all that bad; there were moments of greatness.
I believe Sanchez gets a bad rap and is actually a decent quarterback. Is he Denver’s next Franchise quarterback? No, not at all, but he is an experienced and affordable quarterback, who can properly bridge the gap between Manning, and their next quarterback.
I think the best course of action for Denver is to draft a guy like Connor Cook, Christian Hackenberg, or Kevin Hogan in the 1 of the first 3 rounds of this years draft. Let Sanchez and your rookie compete in camp and go into the season with the same defensive plans as last year. They didn’t need much of a passing game last year to win the Superbowl. If it isn’t broke, why fix it?