Although you can make any number of options make sense at this point, if the Denver Broncos’ goal is to push Drew Lock, how much do these players really make sense for them?
In my mind, bringing in any one of these players who are realistically available for trade would speak volumes to what the Denver Broncos feel about Drew Lock (as in, good news for Drew).
Gardner Minshew, Jaguars
The former late-round pick in 2019 has gotten a decent number of starts under his belt in two NFL seasons thus far. He’s proven he’s got some game, but his game didn’t prevent the Jaguars from picking first overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. His game is also not going to prevent them from drafting Trevor Lawrence.
Although Minshew has posted more palatable numbers in the completion percentage and touchdown percentage department than Lock at this point, he doesn’t have comparable physical tools or upside. He also doesn’t have the rapport Lock has with the coaching staff in Denver or the skill position players.
Although Minshew has the look of an effective interim starter or spot starter for the long-term, acquiring him would seem to be a huge advantage for Drew Lock in 2021.
Nick Foles, Bears
If the Denver Broncos didn’t have interest in signing Mitchell Trubisky for one year, $2.5 million, trading a draft selection for Nick Foles at $4 million would raise a few eyebrows.
Foles would not be the worst option as a backup quarterback, but acquiring him would not represent “pushing” Drew Lock for his job. Foles could, in theory, be a decent fallback plan with a proven track record in that role if Lock falters early in the 2021 season, but if that happens, the Broncos might just be kicking themselves for not investing in the draft at QB instead.
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers
Trading for Jimmy Garoppolo would require a substantial increase in the quarterback budget for 2021-22, and frankly, would the juice be worth the squeeze here?
Garoppolo has been an average starter when he’s healthy, and staying healthy has proven to be extremely difficult for him to do.
Acquiring him at his salaries would necessitate that he play, and if you’re moving on from Drew Lock, why would you do it for Jimmy Garoppolo instead of a high-upside draft choice?
Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers
Although it wouldn’t cost as much to acquire Bridgewater financially, why would you give up draft capital as well as salary cap space to bring in Bridgewater, who is certainly not one to throw interceptions (only 13 interceptions in his last 688 pass attempts) but also is not exactly a playmaker out there either.
Bridgewater would be a fine placeholder if you were grooming a long-term replacement, but gambling on Lock’s traits and bringing in a hedge who would cost less to acquire would seem to make a lot more sense for the Broncos.
If the Denver Broncos actually acquire one of these quarterbacks — which is still within the realm of realism at this point — it had better be Minshew or Foles as a sign they are committing to Drew Lock’s development.
Adding Garoppolo or Bridgewater intentionally creates a long-term need at the QB position and the Broncos have already been down that road two times since 2018 with Case Keenum and Joe Flacco.