Denver Broncos Should Trade For Quarterback Drew Brees
In the wake of Thursday nights quarterbacking debacle, the Broncos should be entertaining the idea of trading for Drew Brees.
The Denver Broncos need to do something at the quarterback position. Since the first week of training camp, the Broncos quarterback play has been bad, to downright awful. “The Decision” is going to end up coming down to which quarterback was less bad—as of today that is Trevor Siemian. That is simply not okay for a team with a Super Bowl “Ready” roster.
This team has spent the offseason adding “juice” all over the roster. Jamaal Charles, Carlos Henderson, Isaiah McKenzie, DeAngelo Henderson; these guys were all brought in to add home-run-hitters to what was a very stagnant offense a year ago. But remember what happened before all these players were brought in—they tried to add some “juice” to the quarterback position with Tony Romo.
Romo didn’t feel the love strong enough, as the Broncos weren’t prepared to offer enough money to the former Cowboys quarterback, so Romo opted for the television booth instead.
Whether John Elway will admit it or not, this was a blow to the franchise. After the Broncos failed to add Romo to the roster, the goal was to make the job as easy as possible for Paxton Lynch. They wanted to give him a run game, dynamic receivers, and a system that would play to his strengths. The Broncos wanted Lynch to take this job by the horns, and not let go.
Early on during camp, he beamed confidence and the Broncos thought he had turned the corner. He was finally ready to show the NFL world why he was drafted in the first round. Once the pads came on, and the install got deeper, things changed drastically. His head started spinning, and bad habits reared their ugly heads. He would still flash, but also became very mistake-prone, causing his coaches to shake their heads.
Then came the preseason opener against the Chicago Bears. Against a very poor Bears team, the Broncos offense managed to put up a whopping three points during the three quarters that Siemian and Lynch played. It was an abomination of quarterback play.
Trevor Siemian was the exact player the Broncos had in 2016. A fine player, who takes little to no risk. He is typically on schedule, but sometimes holds on for too long, causing a lot of sacks or holding penalties. But the biggest fault for Siemian is that he just won’t go for it. The entire game for Siemian was epitomized on one play; a 3rd and 4 in which he hit Jordan Taylor on a crossing route for two yards. Siemian did so little to influence the game, and the Broncos cannot have that. They have simply seen that story before, and weren’t happy with the outcome.
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While Siemian didn’t do anything of note, Paxton Lynch was even worse. Lynch got into the game and all the bad habits came swarming back to him. His footwork work bad, leading to several overthrows. He failed to keep his head downfield when the protection broke down. There was no going through any progressions for him once his first read wasn’t there. Lynch looked lost–a deer in the headlights so to speak. The Broncos cannot put that onto the field September 11th when they host the Chargers on Monday Night Football and keep the respect of the locker room.
For the second year in a row, Trevor Siemian is simply backing his way into a job because his competition lost it.
If the Broncos had to play a real game tomorrow, Siemian would be the starting quarterback. Lynch is going to get one last chance, but it’s going to take a really stellar outing for him to secure the quarterback spot. Based on what Lynch has shown up to this point in his career it is far-fetched to think that the light is somehow going to come on and he’s all of a sudden going to look like a starting quarterback.
What is more likely is that the quarterbacks are going to be a lot more of the same Saturday night. If this is the case, John Elway has got to look elsewhere. This roster is Super Bowl “Ready” now. If the Broncos added a veteran that could play at a high level, the top-to-bottom talent on this roster will surpass New England. The guy to take them there? Drew Brees.
Elway should be on the phone with the Saints Sunday morning if Lynch cannot show that he can play to the standard they will need him to play. Forget about Siemian, the Broncos aren’t winning any Super Bowls with him at the helm. Brees is there to be had if the Broncos can make it worth the Saints’ while to bump up his departure one year.
Brees has a very unique contract. While he is technically under contract until 2020, all the years past this year are “dead” years. To put it simply, he was given a gigantic signing bonus prior to 2016 to make his cap hit manageable, and the only salary left in the deal is in 2017. The “dead” money is simply just prorated cap hits for money that has already been paid out.
Here is why the Saints are almost certain to move on from Brees after 2017. Next season, Brees has no salary, but he will command a roughly $6 million cap hit for each year until 2020. Brees is going to expect to be paid at least close to market value for his services, which is in the neighborhood of $20 million per year.
If the Saints are going to add additional salary to his deal, in order to pay him market value they are going to be looking at gigantic cap hits. This is not something a team with a rebuilding roster is looking to do for a quarterback who is nearing his 40th birthday.
The Saints will be forced to release Brees, and bring his prorated signing bonus to next year, and will have an $18 million cap charge next season. They could choose to split it into a $6 million charge in 2018, and $12 million charge in 2019 if they choose to designate him a post-June 1st cut.
So why haven’t they traded him you ask? Well, if the Saints decided to trade Brees now, they would assume a $24 million cap charge this year. That is a big number for a player that isn’t on your team, and is roughly $5 million more than what his cap charge is if he is on the roster. So in order to trade for him, the Broncos — or any inquiring team — would need to make it worth the Saints’ while to take on $6 million more in dead cap space this year.
What might that deal look like? Here is my proposal:
In this deal, the Saints get some picks, and a young quarterback who still has potential if he can get some playing time. The Broncos also get their bonafide superstar quarterback in future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. Brees likely has 2-3 years of elite level quarterback play in him–just enough to make the Broncos instant Super Bowl (co) favorites during that time frame.
Another thing this deal would do would be to allow John Elway to save face while moving on from a mistake. Don’t forget it was just a little over a year ago that John Elway traded away a third round pick to move up and draft Lynch. Admitting that it was a mistake can be hard, but would make it far easier to do if he were to use him as a way to get another Hall of Fame quarterback to finish his career in Denver.
It wouldn’t take long to get Brees up to speed as the starter, and by mid-season the Broncos would be able to hit their stride, much as they did in 2012, Manning’s first year. With Brees, the Broncos would instantly go from a bottom-of-the-barrell offense to a top-five offense. It would open up the running game and compliment this elite level defense perfectly.
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Trevor Siemian would remain as a very inexpensive backup, which suits him perfectly given his skill-set. If Brees were to miss a game or two with injury, Siemian could step in and likely do just enough to give you a chance to win with the defense, just as he did a year ago.
If Elway could get this deal done, it should be a no-brainer. It would be a tough blow to move on and declare Lynch a bust already, but as I wrote about a few months back, it’s probably now-or-never time for Lynch this year anyways. This roster deserves a quarterback that can lead them to a Super Bowl now. It’s on John Elway to make that happen.