The case against quarterback
Everything in me wants to believe the Broncos could draft a quarterback in the first round and that player could co-exist with Joe Flacco beautifully as the Broncos roll to the Super Bowl this season with Flacco happily passing the torch to a young quarterback.
I just don’t see that being the case. Here are a few things to consider when penciling a quarterback like Drew Lock or Dwayne Haskins (who will both visit the Broncos before April’s Draft).
The price paid to get Flacco
Had the Broncos simply kept Case Keenum, he would have counted $21 million against the 2019 salary cap. Had they cut Keenum outright, he would have cost at least $9 million against the cap (the Broncos would have saved $11 million plus whatever salary another team paid Keenum).
Instead of just keeping or cutting Keenum, the Broncos paid a 4th-round pick and added $4.5 million to that original figure of $21 million to add Joe Flacco.
Between the $18.5 million the Broncos are paying Flacco this year and the $7 million they owe Keenum, they’re paying their starting quarterback $25.5 million, in essence.
Oh, by the way, they are also still on the hook for more than $1.2 million this year to Paxton Lynch, and they are paying Kevin Hogan to come back on a one-year contract (the veteran minimum is $805,000).
All of that put together puts the Broncos at $27.5 million against this year’s cap at the quarterback position alone, and they paid a 4th-round pick to upgrade from Keenum to Flacco.
Those are fairly substantial investments when the Broncos could have simply paid the $9-plus million in dead money to Keenum and drafted a guy, re-signing Hogan and paying about $14 million to the quarterback position this year.
If that’s the direction you’re going, why add Flacco?
The human element
Everyone seems to have this great idea that the Broncos trade for Flacco, inherit the non-guaranteed portion of his contract, and just draft Drew Lock with the 10th overall pick and everything is going to fall into place.
There’s a problem with that, though.
The minute Flacco and the offense go three-and-out, you know the Broncos fan base is going to be screaming for the rookie. God forbid he throw an interception.
The entire 2019 season will be spent with fans complaining about how Lock (or Haskins for that matter) should be playing while Flacco is inevitably given the ‘guy who gives us the best chance to win’ tag by the coaching staff.
This makes Flacco’s job that much more difficult, and can ruin the chemistry of the Broncos’ locker room.
Flacco said last year in Baltimore was ‘miserable’ and while he probably shouldn’t be getting handed a job at this point, that’s not the reality of the situation.
He was hand-picked by Denver’s coaching staff and front office.
There’s a human element to drafting a first-round quarterback that starts a countdown clock on the veteran. That is probably what some fans want but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.
Some would argue it worked for the Chiefs, but did it really? What did they win again?
And who knows if Lock or Haskins would be as good as Patrick Mahomes?
If the Broncos wanted to go young at the quarterback position this year, what purpose does Flacco serve in it? Why acquire him in the first place?
I don’t think he’s a giant smokescreen for their intentions, although…