Denver Broncos: Sam Darnold trade impact on George Paton’s plan

Denver Broncos offseason: QB #14 Sam Darnold Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos offseason: QB #14 Sam Darnold Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Denver Broncos, Drew Lock
Denver Broncos QB Drew Lock Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

What’s the plan, Paton?

George Paton has been nothing if not patient with his quarterback situation.

I don’t think he’s just been blowing smoke when he has talked about liking what he’s seen from Drew Lock while acknowledging there are areas Lock has to improve.

"We’ve evaluated all the quarterbacks. We like Drew Lock. We have a plan in place and there’s free agency, there’s the draft, there’s trades, there’s a lot of ways to acquire a quarterback. Fortunately, we have a quarterback here and we have a nice quarterback room. We do want to bring in competition. We are not going to force it. We are monitoring the market right now. George Paton (via Broncos PR) on March 18, 2021"

If the Broncos bring in Teddy Bridgewater as a hedge sometime before the 2021 NFL Draft, things will be very interesting because you could read that move a couple of ways.

You could look at it as the Broncos bringing in legitimate competition for Drew Lock, or a legitimate bridge to someone they would draft in 2021.

Paton has been through the quarterback pro day circuit. He’s not getting Zach Wilson, who he saw in person at BYU. He might be able to get one of Trey Lance or Justin Fields. Does he like one of those guys better than Drew Lock?

Does he love one of them?

If he likes one, he might be willing to sit content at pick number nine and let the board fall how it may. If he loves one, he might pay the price to go up and get one.

The feeling right now with three weeks and change before the 2021 NFL Draft has to be that Paton is at the very least intrigued by the incoming rookie class. He could have eliminated that option and possibility already, but he hasn’t.

Could we see Drew Lock and a 2021 first-round pick battling it out in Denver in 2021? Would that be too weird? Could Teddy Bridgewater be holding down the fort for Justin Fields or Trey Lance?

After the Sam Darnold trade, it truly feels like a neck-and-neck race between Lock and the possible options in the 2021 Draft.