Broncos QB plans being revealed through free agency

The quarterback market is thinning, which can only mean one thing for the Broncos...

Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Kara Durrette/GettyImages

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to do a simple process of elimination, but we're going to point this out anyway. The Denver Broncos' plan at the quarterback position might be becoming clearer by the minute as NFL Free Agency progresses.

Baker Mayfield signed a big-money deal to return to the Buccaneers. Kirk Cousins signed a big-money deal with the Atlanta Falcons. Gardner Minshew got two years and $25 million from the Las Vegas Raiders. Former Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The quarterback carousel is sorting itself out, but the Broncos are seemingly one of the last teams left standing.

Mac Jones even got traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars to back up Trevor Lawrence. So what does this all mean for Denver?

Well, we know Sean Payton doesn't want the next name on the QB list to get crossed off of the jersey making fun of the Broncos' post-Peyton Manning attempts at finding a long-term solution. If that's the case, and the Broncos weren't in on the likes of Kirk Cousins or Baker Mayfield, then it stands to reason that this team is truly priming for the 2024 NFL Draft.

This isn't breaking news, by any means, but there was some thought out there that the Broncos could be on the periphery for either Cousins or Mayfield. And in the case of a player like Gardner Minshew, you might have been looking at a Case Keenum 2.0 type of situation.

As far as options in free agency or via trade, the Broncos are pretty much down to Sam Darnold, Justin Fields, and Zach Wilson as the true "upside" reclamation types. There are free agents available like Jacoby Brissett, Jameis Winston, and Ryan Tannehill as bridge guys. Which one of those players is not getting crossed off the quarterback name jersey?

It looks like the Broncos are diving head-first into the 2024 NFL Draft class at the quarterback position. At this stage, it appears extremely unlikely that the Broncos would have a chance at any of Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, or Jayden Daniels, but perhaps they will be in position for someone like JJ McCarthy, Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr., or Spencer Rattler at one of their first two selections.

The Broncos held formal interviews with every top quarterback prospect at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine, and they have seemingly gone into full rebuilding mode with the decisions to cut Russell Wilson and Justin Simmons as well as the decision to trade wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. With Russell Wilson's contract accounting for $85 million in dead cap space over the next two years, the Broncos have to go a more economical route at the quarterback position.

Again, none of this is earth-shattering news, but with all of these other quarterbacks finding landing spots so early in NFL Free Agency and all things quiet on the Broncos' front, it looks like the team might take a dart throw (at best) in free agency before going after someone in the 2024 NFL Draft.