The Denver Broncos don’t need much to get back into the championship race. They need more now, but since Peyton Manning retired after leading the Broncos to a Super Bowl 50 victory, the Broncos have realistically only been missing a quality quarterback to help anchor their offense. The defense is still good, but the offense has fallen apart without Manning’s leadership.
Since Manning’s retirement, Elway has tried his best to rear up a replacement; however, he has had no luck at the position. It started with 2012 second round draft pick Brock Osweiler, who left the team after Super Bowl 50 to chase a lucrative contract with the Houston Texans despite a guaranteed starting job for the defending Super Bowl champs.
So, the Broncos rolled the dice on 2015 seventh round draft selection Trevor Siemian. That worked out really well for maybe a game or too, and then it was about as bad as we all remember.
Then, 2016 first round pick Paxton Lynch earned his opportunity to start for the Broncos. He was even worse than Siemian.
They tried bringing in guys like Mark Sanchez. Didn’t help. The Broncos couldn’t find anyone to bolster their offense. Meanwhile, their defense remained one of the better in the NFL.
All they need is a QB. That’s it. Is that too much to ask for?
Apparently so. But, Broncos general manager John Elway isn’t done swinging for the fences. He’s going to continue trying to find a quarterback, and he isn’t afraid to take risks on rookies or questionable veterans along the way.
He lives by one motto and one motto only: “Life is too short to rebuild in the NFL.”
“I think we are going to explore all options in free agency and see where that goes,” continued Elway. “Obviously, we’ve got the 5th pick in the draft too. So that will all play into it. So, we’ll continue to look at all the options out there when it comes to quarterback.”
Former Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins is the top on Elway’s list for now; however, there is a lot of uncertainty with Cousins. First, there’s no guarantee that the Broncos land him. The New York Jets are also in the running and have a good amount of money to spend. Cousins will almost certainly be the highest paid player in NFL history after this offseason, which presents a massive salary cap risk for the Broncos who will also need to focus on keeping their defense intact over the next few summers.
There’s also no guarantee that Cousins does anything in Denver. He did well in Washington, but they didn’t win nearly enough. Sure, there are a number of reasons why, but it’s hard to believe that a truly elite QB worth the kind of money Cousins will be getting couldn’t have strung together a few more playoff appearances.
In addition to Cousins, there are other free agent QB options out there, such as Sam Bradford, Case Keenum, and Teddy Bridgewater (yeah, the Minnesota Vikings really cleaned house at that position). Additionally, Elway isn’t afraid to spend that No. 5 overall pick on a college quarterback, although this draft class is relatively weak compared to recent seasons.
Cousins will officially become a free agent next Wednesday as the Redskins wished him good riddance after choosing not to tag him yet another time.
But, hey, life’s too short to rebuild.
“Believe me, I’m not done swinging and missing,” said Elway. “Misses don’t bother me. We’ve just got to figure out a way to get it right.”
Elway isn’t afraid to fail. He knows they have the defense to remain relevant (although that didn’t work out well this past season, thus the No. 5 overall pick). He’s also confident in offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave to help get the lackluster offense back on track.
It’s crazy to think how far the Broncos defense has fallen without Peyton Manning, but they still have the opportunity to compete in an overall weak division (provided 2018 sees the second half of the season Kansas City Chiefs, not the first half).
“I still think we aren’t too far away,” said Elway. “Obviously, we’ve got to get better at [the quarterback] position. We didn’t play well there last year—and that doesn’t go all on the players, there were some things we should have done differently that we didn’t do. I feel like we can get back in the thick of things rather quickly because we still have a good defensive football team. On the offense, we’re going to get better with Bill Musgrave being the offensive coordinator…Figure out what we do at the quarterback position. So, I’m excited about where we are and think we have a chance to get back in the thick of things quickly.”
Elway has turned this team around once already, so if anyone can do it…