Denver Broncos: How much would you give for a franchise QB?

LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 25: Lamar Jackson
LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 25: Lamar Jackson /

The Denver Broncos will have a very interesting offseason. How far will they be willing to go to get that coveted franchise quarterback?

What are the Denver Broncos going to do about their quarterback position?

That — once again — will be the burning question as we head into another offseason. This time, however, the Broncos as a team have struggled badly this year.

From the head coach onto the roster, the Broncos have had more turnover than most Super Bowl winning teams typically have in a two-year span.

With five games yet to play, the Broncos are not assured any specific draft slot, though right now if the season were to end, they would have the fourth overall pick. Even picking fourth overall might not be high enough for the Broncos to get the quarterback they covet in the draft, if that’s the direction they intend to go.

Depending how the rest of the offseason turns out, starting with free agency, the Broncos will have to seriously consider making a big time move to get up to the top, or near the top of the 2018 NFL Draft.

If recent history is any indication, it could cost the Broncos up to five draft picks — mostly high picks — including a 2019 first round pick to move up from anywhere inside the top 10 to the top two picks.

One trade partner could be the San Francisco 49ers, who appear on the fast track to picking second overall. If the 49ers hold the second overall pick, they would undoubtedly be receiving calls from teams looking to move up for a quarterback, especially if word gets around the league that the Cleveland Browns have their minds made up on a guy quickly in the process.

The Broncos have draft ammunition this year and next year in order to make any such deal happen, but would they do it? How much would you be willing to give up if you were John Elway?

Teams moving up for quarterbacks in the 2017 NFL Draft paid hefty prices to do so. The Chicago Bears, even moving just one spot from the third overall selection to the second overall selection, gave up two third round picks and a fourth round pick.

Coincidentally, that deal was also made with the 49ers and GM John Lynch.

Relational equity can’t be disregarded when it comes to draft trades, especially between John Elway and Lynch. The 49ers and Broncos have worked together on multiple occasions already in Lynch’s tenure there, including a trade for running back Kapri Bibbs and the organization of joint practices in the preseason.

If the Broncos find themselves picking in the top 10 of next year’s draft, they will be a viable candidate to trade up with the 49ers into that second overall slot to secure the player they covet most, whether quarterback or otherwise.

But, if you’re trading that much to move up that far, it’s rarely not for a quarterback.

Consider the trade the Philadelphia Eagles made in 2016 for Carson Wentz, giving up two first round picks (2016 and 2017), two third round picks (2016, 2018) and a second round pick (2016).

That trade was to move up from the eighth overall pick to the second overall pick.

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It seems steep until you look at what the Eagles got (Carson Wentz, Donnel Pumphrey) compared to what the Browns have parlayed their bounty of picks into:

WR Corey Coleman
OL Shon Coleman
QB Cody Kessler
WR Ricardo Lewis
S Derrick Kindred
WR Jordan Payton
OL Spencer Drango
DB Jabrill Peppers
QB DeShone Kizer
2018 1st round pick (Houston)
2018 2nd round pick (Philadelphia)

Which would you take?

On paper, you’d certainly take all the picks the Browns got in terms of quantity over what the Eagles got. But when you look at what difference Carson Wentz has made on the field, there’s no doubt that you would take the quarterback 100 percent of the time.

If it cost the Broncos a pair of first round picks and a couple of day two picks to move up and get a quarterback that can change the course of the franchise, it’s almost a no-brainer.

Especially in a draft class that could feature three or four guys that could all be instant hits at the next level — Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Lamar Jackson, and Baker Mayfield — it’s a risk worth at least discussing.

The Broncos will not be alone in pursuit of a young quarterback this offseason, so preparing to make an offer the team with the first or second overall pick can’t refuse is the wise thing to do.