Denver Broncos vs AFC West: Who will come out on top?

Next season, it will be an elite fight to take the AFC West. AFC West teams are working to elevate their teams. For the Broncos, it starts with a quarterback. Will the Russell Wilson situation lead to bad blood? Will the Broncos be able to keep up with their division rivals?

Russell Wilson shares a hug with Maxx Crosby (Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders)
Russell Wilson shares a hug with Maxx Crosby (Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders) / Candice Ward/GettyImages

The Kansas City Chiefs have won back-to-back Super Bowls. Of course, the Denver Broncos did it first (1998 and 1999), but this win signifies every AFC team's worst fear: the Chiefs are the team to beat in order to make it far. As we look back at weeks 13 through 15, the Denver Broncos were in a prime position to win the AFC West. Unfortunately, the Denver Broncos and Sean Payton couldn’t continue the winning streak due to the inevitable doom of inconsistency.

Why the Russell Wilson situation was mishandled and how it will affect the Broncos

It was every Broncos fan’s wildest dream to trade for a high-value quarterback. After all, our trade for Peyton Manning led us to two Super Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl win. But, to our dismay, things didn't pan out for a playoff, let alone a playoff appearance. While fans are split on whether or not Wilson deserved to be on the bench, the underlying issue was not whether Russell Wilson had played to standard, but rather the fact that the Broncos were yet again bailing on a quarterback.

The situation with Wilson is a financial time bomb that leaves the Broncos fighting for free agency and resigning. Thankfully, big changes were made to the NFL’s cap space, but the Broncos public image will probably continue to take hits as sports analysts seem to be siding with Wilson and calling out Sean Payton, meaning we can expect this to trickle down into our free agency bids. Who would want to sign with a team that will cut you after two seasons into a five-season contract and give ultimatums due to a contract they created?

If the Broncos truly wanted to work with Russell Wilson on a contract restructure, they should not have leveraged benching Wilson as their negotiating point. No matter how far the Broncos make it next season, the treatment of Russell Wilson will still be mentioned to some extent; therefore, our success will be tainted and our failures will more than likely be celebrated. 

Going Forward: How the Broncos Could Win the AFC West

With Wilson’s departure almost guaranteed, the Broncos are once again on the fence in terms of their quarterback. It would be foolish for the Broncos to go all in for a quarterback and make no changes to their offensive line, mainly their running backs, tight ends, and wide receivers; however, there is a possibility we might see the doom of inconsistency continue off into the offseason.

It would make the most sense to draft a quarterback and stay away from trades and free agents until the dust settles with Wilson. Drafting a quarterback in the first round might seem like the only way to fix our broken offense, but there is so much potential in other positions that it seems foolish to have eyes on a quarterback so early.

If the Broncos were to make such a significant move by drafting a quarterback in the first round, they would undoubtedly need to thoroughly assess the talent and possibly trade up. With the Bears, Commanders, Patriots, and Falcons in need of their own franchise quarterbacks, it is safe to assume that the QB pool will be significantly degraded by the 12th pick. 

Unfortunately, the chances of trading might be very slim, as Broncos going all in for a franchise QB would require an extensive trade and draft captial package. It is also almost impossible to gauge how a rookie will play in their first season, so the overpayment that the Broncos will have to provide might not be worth the talent they put in for. The draft will certainly be the biggest weapon the Broncos have in the process of taking the AFC West.

Since the Broncos were behind the Chiefs by three games, had the same record as the Raiders, and swept the Chargers, it will be an interesting battle in the West. After the offseason and draft, it will be enthralling to see what Sean Payton will do to get that offensive “spark” he so desperately craves. One thing is certain: the AFC West has gotten a lot tougher since the Chargers hired Jim Harbaugh as their new head coach.

Former Broncos who fans would love to see return. dark. Next. Returning Broncos

The Broncos need to become a lot tougher and stronger in terms of talent and coaching, and hopefully Peyton Manning's prediction will come true.