There is just about one month before the start of the NFL’s new league year in mid-March. The Denver Broncos are going to be the subject of plenty of quarterback rumors leading up to then, and perhaps even past that point.
It has already been confirmed that the Broncos have had interest in making a splash on the quarterback trade market. They had interest in former Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford before he was ultimately shipped out to the Los Angeles Rams for a bounty of picks and quarterback Jared Goff.
The Deshaun Watson rumors continue to persist even though the Houston Texans have not made him available, but the Broncos apparently came close to making a trade for a quarterback last week.
At least, that is what’s been put out there by former NFL general manager Michael Lombardi when he appeared on the Pat McAfee Show.
In this clip, Lombardi also states that he thinks the “whole conversation” about Drew Lock being Denver’s guy is over. That’s not an easy thing to hear, and it may not be entirely true depending on whether his sources are coming from Denver people or sources from other teams.
There is no doubt that at this time of year, information is getting thrown out there left and right but there have also been reports that the Broncos were a team to watch in the Carson Wentz sweepstakes from Philadelphia reporters while others close to Denver like Benjamin Allbright, Mike Klis, and even Ian Rapoport of NFL Network have stated the complete opposite.
So, if Deshaun Watson hasn’t been put on the trade block yet, it wasn’t him the Broncos could have nearly traded for. If they were not ever in on Wentz, it wasn’t him either. Who was it then?
Would George Paton make a deal with his former team the Minnesota Vikings for Kirk Cousins? Possibly. The Broncos had interest in Cousins back in 2018 before he signed with Minnesota.
Could it be that Paton was interested in making a deal with the 49ers for Jimmy Garoppolo? Maybe, but that seems unlikely based on Garoppolo’s contract and injury history.
What about Jets quarterback Sam Darnold? New York could be prepared to ship Darnold out of town with the second overall pick and a quarterback likely on deck for them in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Maybe Paton was prepared to send some kind of asset to the Carolina Panthers for Teddy Bridgewater, a former first-round pick of his when he was with the Minnesota Vikings.
Other than those players, what other names even make sense for the Broncos to trade valuable draft assets for? Within the realm of realism, there aren’t many.
Since we’re guessing here, I think it’s safe to cross Garoppolo off that list. The likeliest names the Broncos would be pursuing in a trade at this point would be players like Darnold, Cousins, or Bridgewater.
Darnold would be a bit of a wildcard idea for the Broncos because he’s still young, he is talented (he was my personal QB1 in the 2018 class), and he has upside in the right situation. The Broncos’ situation is a good one for a quarterback.
For that reason, perhaps Paton feels like with the weapons at the skill positions, Kirk Cousins could excel in Denver. Maybe he would prefer the game manager style of a Teddy Bridgewater to the playmaker style of Lock, which has gotten him into trouble at times.
The Broncos will rightfully be exploring all avenues at the quarterback position, for the right price, upgrades at any position should be explored. The team obviously wants to upgrade and bring someone in to compete with Lock this season, or ultimately take his job.
The Denver Broncos could look for upgrades at the linebacker position through free agency in 2021. There are a number of intriguing options available.
If the Broncos made a trade for any of these three guys, it would almost undoubtedly mean Lock is the backup for 2021.