Which Denver Broncos free agent quarterback target makes most sense?

Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Even if the Denver Broncos swing a trade for a veteran quarterback, they might be wise to bring in a veteran signal-caller as the primary backup.

I think it’s safe to say that many in Broncos Country do not want Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Lock starting for the team in week 1.  I am one of them.

Rumors keep swirling about a potential Aaron Rodgers trade.  Some people seem pretty confident in his eventual arrival in Denver, but it’s not guaranteed.

I think no matter what route the team goes with their quarterback solution, bringing in a veteran free agent quarterback makes a lot of sense.

If the team trades for Aaron Rodgers for example, signing a high-quality veteran backup covers the Broncos’ rear ends in case Rodgers goes down with an injury.

In contrast, if the team drafts a quarterback, signing a veteran free agent signal-caller also makes a ton of sense as a one-year bridge.

Looking at the free agent quarterback market, there are some very solid options available.  I also think there are some that might even have a little upside to them that the Denver Broncos could perhaps take advantage of.

Which veteran quarterbacks make the most sense for Denver if they go this route?

Among the available veteran free agent quarterbacks available for trade, the most notable ones are Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor, Jameis Winston, Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota, Joe Flacco, and Mitchell Trubisky.

The interesting thing about all of these players is that they’ve all started for a period of time during their careers.

This tier is among the “Low-end starter/high-quality backup” tier in the NFL.  Their services are going to be needed for the rest of the NFL’s existence, and they would all fit perfectly as one-year bridge options.

Which of these players would fit the best on the Denver Broncos, though?

I would instantly cross out Ryan Fitzpatrick, due to his age and recent injury, Cam Newton, Teddy Bridgewater, and Joe Flacco.

I don’t think I need to say why I’m already eliminating Bridgewater and Flacco.

That would leave Denver with Andy Dalton, Tyrod Taylor, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, and Mitchell Trubisky.

Well, if Denver wants to see if they can get some upside out of a veteran quarterback signee, I’d eliminate Andy Dalton.  I do like Dalton and think Denver could win some games, but watching him play the past 2 seasons makes me think he’s all but washed.

Tyrod Taylor started for the Buffalo Bills once upon a time and was pretty solid, but given Denver’s pass-catchers and their specific abilities, I’m not sure a pedestrian passer like Taylor is the route to go.  Plus, he’s 32, so his age could be a small concern as well.

Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, and Mitchell Trubisky are the 3 left for Denver to sign.

They’re all 28 and under, so they’re still young.

Plus, we’ve seen each player enjoy rather good quarterback play over the years.

Winston had a stellar start to 2021 before tearing his ACL, Mariota passed for 26 touchdowns against just 9 interceptions in 2016, and Mitchell Trubisky passed for 24 touchdowns against 12 interceptions, winning 12 games in 2018.

Given that Jameis Winston has a turnover issue, I’d eliminate him.  That would leave us with Marcus Mariota and Mitchell Trubisky.

Both are under 30 and have some upside.  Both are decent passers and have talent with their legs.

If Denver were to draft someone, I’d be totally on board with signing either to start for a year and if the Denver Broncos were able to land Aaron Rodgers, why not further bolster the quarterbacking room by signing Mariota or Trubisky?

Those are my top two choices in the free agent market.