The Broncos’ offensive attack in 2018 was putrid, and even if you believe Bill Musgrave’s offense to be the key reason for their lack of effectiveness, Case Keenum deserves some of the blame.
After signing a two-year, $36 million contract at the outset of the free agent negotiating period, Keenum came to Denver and slung the ball around 586 times with only 18 touchdowns.
That gave him a touchdown percent of 3.1, which was the lowest in the NFL among quarterbacks to start every game, and the fourth-lowest overall behind Arizona’s Josh Rosen, Washington’s Alex Smith, and Buffalo’s Josh Allen.
Essentially, Keenum’s ability to put points on the board through the thing he’s paid to do — throw the ball — was worse than the majority of rookie starters this past season, and certainly the worst among full-time veteran starters.
You can pin some of that on Musgrave’s offense, but you can’t blame it on the protection. Keenum actually took more sacks (24) when he had more than 2.5 seconds to throw than he did (10) when he had 2.5 seconds or less (stats via Pro Football Focus).
You also can’t blame it all on the receivers, because Keenum also threw more interceptions (9) when he had more time to throw than he did (6) when he had less time to throw.
You also can’t blame the running game, which was one of the best in the NFL.
The simple fact of the matter is, Case Keenum was not enough of a difference maker for the Denver Broncos at $18 million per year. That’s a premium price to pay even if it is becoming more of a ‘normal’ number for quarterbacks.
Even if it’s not realistic to expect this kind of production from whoever takes the ball in 2019, the Broncos are in a division with a quarterback (Patrick Mahomes) who led the NFL with a touchdown percentage of 8.6 this past season.
The average for an NFL quarterback is probably somewhere around 5.0 percent, and even Nick Mullens of the 49ers had a touchdown percentage rate of 4.7.
As if not throwing touchdowns at a high rate was not frustrating enough, Keenum also ranked tied for second in the NFL with 15 interceptions last season.
Unless the new offense is going to make Keenum that much better, Denver needs a different solution at this position and quickly.