Denver Broncos: Mitch Trubisky had interest in signing with Denver

Denver Broncos QB targets - Mitchell Trubisky. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos QB targets - Mitchell Trubisky. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports /

The closer we get to the 2021 NFL Draft, the more you have to wonder about what Denver Broncos general manager George Paton’s “plan” is to upgrade the quarterback position behind 2020 starter Drew Lock.

As the 2021 NFL Draft approaches, the Denver Broncos’ plan is becoming ever-so-slightly clearer by the day.

Paton has passed — completely — on the 2021 free agent crop of quarterbacks, which at one point included some at least moderately intriguing names, none of which would have precluded the Denver Broncos from sticking with Drew Lock or drafting someone high in 2021.

Among a number of other names that could have been had for about $10 million this season (or less) as hedge options, the Denver Broncos passed on former Chicago Bears first-round pick Mitch Trubisky, the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft class which also included Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.

From Trubisky’s perspective, the Denver Broncos made a ton of sense as a destination in free agency.

  • Drew Lock’s job is seemingly up for grabs
  • The Broncos could upgrade their backup spot, at least
  • Trubisky is good pals with Broncos LT Garett Bolles
  • Trubisky is familiar with Vic Fangio
  • Denver’s offensive line is vastly improved
  • Broncos offensive weapons are ridiculously talented
  • Lock has been injured each of his first two NFL seasons

The opportunity for a guy like Trubisky, the 2nd pick in an NFL Draft just four years ago, was apparently too good to be true. He could have parlayed that opportunity to compete into a big contract like Ryan Tannehill did (in theory, anyway) with the Titans, but it wasn’t for Trubisky’s lack of interest that he’s not a member of the Denver Broncos right now.

For that price, you have to wonder how much the Denver Broncos and GM George Paton really want to upgrade the situation behind (or around, however you look at it) Drew Lock.

They could have signed Mitchell Trubisky — again, a former no. 2 overall pick — for the same price they signed Jeff Driskel a year ago.

Trubisky, remember, is a player that Vic Fangio has gone to the playoffs with in Chicago (2018). Although Trubisky has not lived up to his draft status, there are worse reclamation projects and less exciting backup options than a guy who still might have some upside.

The unrequited interest from Trubisky in free agency is fascinating on a number of levels.

As previously stated, the fit with the Broncos from his perspective is obvious. The fit from the Broncos’ end? Frankly, it could have been equally obvious.

An inexpensive hedge to compete with Drew Lock who is still young and not devoid of upside? A guy who knows the head coach personally and is well-known by other coaches/personnel on the Denver Broncos who coached against him while with the Vikings?

Let’s not pretend that Trubisky was the best possible option the Broncos could get in the 2021 offseason. But in terms of all of the qualities you might be looking for as a young, inexpensive, possibly Tannehill-like hedge?

Trubisky certainly fit the description.

The Denver Broncos passed. It makes you wonder what the team is planning on doing. The Broncos still have a bunch of salary cap space, so they could try to swing a trade for someone like Teddy Bridgewater (Carolina), Nick Foles (Chicago), or Gardner Minshew to compete with Drew Lock to be the starter in 2021.

But none of those moves really move the needle and put the Broncos firmly in the Drew Lock camp.

If that’s where they decide to pitch a tent after Paton goes on his tour of Pro Days — he’s seen Trey Lance, Justin Fields, and Zach Wilson in person at this point — then so be it.

Call it an overreaction if you must, but I think the Broncos’ lack of interest in Mitch Trubisky given his apparent interest in the team speaks volumes to the team’s ultimate plans.

Given his history as a starter and his skill set compared to the other guys that the Broncos could acquire via trade — Sam Darnold, Nick Foles, Teddy Bridgewater, Gardner Minshew — it seems that the Broncos may not have as much interest in adding competition for Lock as they do bringing in his eventual replacement, whether it’s in the form of Sam Darnold or a 2021 NFL Draft pick.