Have you heard that the Denver Broncos have a polarizing quarterback with raw mechanics who just wins? Pardon the deadpanning; but never fear Tim Tebow skeptics, the Denver Broncos are sure to have at least one backup quarterback in 2012. And don’t get all hot and bothered Tebow faithful, the Denver Broncos are sure to have at least one backup quarterback in 2012. It’s good to have options.
When the free agency signing period begins on March 13, the Denver Broncos will have numerous options at their disposal when it comes to the quarterback position. With Tebow already named the starter entering training camp, the Broncos can look at the vacancies on the depth chart in a number of ways depending on what their perceived goals are. The real question is: how do they want to define the backup quarterback position?
Define it as a mentor role – The Broncos could bring in a savvy veteran to push Tebow competitively and mentally; something that could benefit a young quarterback still addressing his weaknesses as an NFL quarterback. There are a few free agent quarterbacks that have been around the league for a while whose make up could serve this role such as Jason Campbell (82.8 career quarterback rating), Chad Henne (75.7), Charlie Batch (77.8), Kyle Boller (69.5), Mark Brunell (84.0), and perhaps even current Broncos quarterback Brady Quinn (66.8). The question is, does knowing you’re being brought in as a backup/mentor type sound appealing to a professional athlete?
Define it as a complementary role – There has been quite a bit of chatter about making sure that the roster has quarterbacks whose play mirrors Tebow’s. Is that a relevant argument, however, if the Broncos aren’t running a throwback offense in 2012? While the Broncos will certainly look to play to Tebow’s strengths, is the option going to be the foundation of the Broncos’ attack in September? Doubtful. There are a few free agents who would fit the bill very nicely of being a mobile passer who can extend plays with his legs. Dennis Dixon is at the forefront of this profile. In his limited duties as backup in Pittsburgh he showed he can play at an NFL level filling in for Ben Roethlisberger, completing almost 69% of his passes in two games in 2010. Other names that fit this definition would be Vince Young, Kellen Clemens, Josh Johnson, and the aforementioned Mark Brunell.
Define it as developmental – Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will certainly be off the board by the Broncos’ number 25 pick in the draft and Ryan Tannehill will probably not be available either. That leaves Brock Osweiler, Nick Foles, Brandon Weeden, and Kirk Cousins as second or third round possibilities. But drafting this high in the draft implies priorities. Is a backup quarterback a priority over adding a cornerback, a running back, or a defensive tackle? Not a chance. If the Broncos, however, look to take the “best player available” approach and they can grab a quarterback who has slipped in the draft, the pick becomes value oriented and may sit well with those who agree with the final definition.
Define it as a low risk roster filler – There is a roster opening and it needs to be filled. Simple. The Broncos could very easily wait until the later rounds of the draft to see which players remain. If they feel comfortable with the free agent brought in, it would be very easy to justify waiting until later in the draft to add a rookie quarterback to the team. Talent like Kellen Moore and Russell Wilson could be great roster additions if they aren’t picked up by the fourth round. These two are really only held back by the fact that they lack the height that scouts typically look for (Moore is 6’0″, Wilson is 5’11”). Get past the tape measure and the Broncos may be able to get a steal.