The Broncos are going to have to make some calculated moves this offseason in order to get the quarterback that Sean Payton wants but the plan could still easily go off the rails because the Broncos don't have a lot of leverage.
First, they must decide what to do with Russell Wilson and if he is cut, as many expect him to be, that guarantees that the team is searching for a new starter for the 2024 season or going back to Jarrett Stidham.
Now, if the team is going to opt to bring in another veteran through free agency, someone like Ryan Tannehill as suggested here, I would easily argue that the team should just stick with Wilson and not eat all of that dead cap money.
If the team decides to take a quarterback in the draft, it might not be the wisest decision to move up into the top three of the draft. That leaves the team choosing between Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr. and J.J. McCarthy.
But are any of those guys worthy of the No. 12 overall pick in the draft? In the case of the Broncos, it may not matter.
The Broncos may simply have to use that first-round pick on one of those players because they don't own a second-round pick, at least currently, due to last season's trade with the New Orleans Saints to get Payton as head coach.
Looking at many recent mock drafts, including this one from Eric Edholm of NFL.com, neither Nix nor Penix — the two QBs most often tied to the Broncos — are even selected in the first round.
Without that second-round pick, the Broncos may have to overdraft one of these quarterbacks to ensure that they get one. Could they potentially grab one in the third round? Possibly, but that would be a huge gamble.
Of course, the team could always move around the board once the draft begins, like it did last year, but more of an ironclad plan is going to be necessary, rather than hoping things fall into place.
So what is the best route to take to get the quarterback position into a more desireable spot? That is going to be the main topic of discussion between Payton, George Paton and the rest of the front office.
But the absence of that second-round pick is a bigger deal that many likely realize.