Coming off a Super Bowl victory, the Denver Broncos were quick to celebrate and ready to enjoy the offseason. However, they knew they had work to do, and they didn’t have very much time to do so. Key players from their Lombardi hoisting team were set to hit the free agent market. This included: Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, pivotal defensive pieces in Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan, along with the presumed QB of the future Brock Osweiler, among others.
As it played out, Peyton Manning retired, which was expected. This opened the door for Osweiler to step in and assume the starting QB duties on the team that had drafted him back in 2012. The Broncos suffered an unexpected twist when Osweiler jumped ship to sign a monster deal in Houston. This left a huge hole under center – the only means of filling the vacancy the franchise has taken so far was the acquisition of Mark Sanchez as they shipped a 7th round pick to Philadelphia. Their efforts didn’t just end there, however.
John Elway and co. tried desperately to work a trade with San Francisco to bring in the riveted Colin Kaepernick. With a deal in place, it didn’t workout between the two sides as the 49ers refused to pay a chunk of Kaep’s $11M base salary in 2016 as the QB would not take a pay cut. At least they’re trying. A trade sending Kaepernick to Denver isn’t completely out the window, however.
The front office can back Mark Sanchez as long as they want, but at the end of the day, we all know he’s not going to be the starting QB for the defending Super Bowl champs, right? There are still some options out there for Gary Kubiak and the Broncos, take a look at 5 possible successors to Manning and Osweiler in Denver.
The Denver Broncos appeared on our top 5 teams Ryan Fitzapatrick could sign with. This looks like a match made in heaven for both parties. The Broncos are desperate for a QB, and Fitzpatrick is the best available on the open market. Fitz would fit right in with a team that is ready to compete like the Denver Broncos. Coming off a career year in which he helped rejuvenate the Jets franchise, he would be able to come in and produce from week 1.
As the top free agent left on the market, it’s unusual to see the lack of interest generated from around the league as there are still teams needing a QB – but his ‘large’ contract demands could be shying teams away, like it has for the Jets.
The most appealing concept of Fitzpatrick to Denver is his ability to enter the offense and allow it to not miss a beat after the departures of Manning and Osweiler. He could step right in and solidify Denver as a contender in the AFC. As time goes on and options run out, the Broncos could be willing to pay Fitzpatrick what he wants.
Known as the guy who was the reason why Russell Wilson transferred from N.C. State as he stole the starting QB job, I’m very surprised there haven’t been any rumblings about a potential Mike Glennon to Denver trade. Glennon is one of the most coveted backups in the league after showing signs of flashes in 2013 and 2014, before the team drafted franchise QB Jameis Winston.
With Winston now the face of the franchise for the Buccaneers, Glennon’s services aren’t needed in Tampa Bay anymore – trading Glennon will likely happen this offseason, the question is just a matter of when. He brings Osweiler-like size with his 6’6” frame and I would even say he has better arm talent than the former Broncos QB.
Glennon to Denver is the most intriguing scenario on this list. Not only would he provide them with an instant upgrade at the position, but he is still fairly young at 26 years old and could be the starter for more than just a couple seasons. The Buccaneers will demand something around a 2nd round pick and perhaps a conditional pick, which is why I think Denver shies away as they need as many draft picks they can get to fill holes left behind in free agency. However, looking long-term, it may be worth the investment.
With the signing of Brock Osweiler, it looks like Brian Hoyer is on his way out in Houston, and it appears the Broncos are interested in the veteran QB to replace the player who replaced him. Hoyer would make a lot of sense for the Broncos – he’s a respectable starting QB who could be a stopgap for a year or two. Hoyer had himself a productive 2015 season with the Texans where he threw for 19 TDs to just 7 interceptions.
Hoyer is a guy that will outwork anyone. He has the respect of his teammates and has the ability to get the most out of them. I consider him a pretty underrated signal caller in the NFL. Not a guy who will single-handedly win your team football games, but he won’t lose them for you either. He led that magical run for Cleveland in 2014 where they almost made the playoffs.
Of the options on the list, he looks like the most realistic. He’ll be able to come in for a year or two and provide reliable play under center for the defending Super Bowl champions.
No this is not a joke. To make matters worse, the Broncos actually reached out to Manziel and expressed interest in the troubled QB. The 2014 first round pick just hasn’t been able to keep his head on straight, which led to his release in Cleveland. Who knows if this kid even wants to play football anymore. Regardless, he’s on the market, and Gary Kubiak reached out to him.
While he doesn’t have the build or arm talent to be a successful QB in the NFL, he does have that “magic” factor and ability to make those plays that “wow” you. Still, he just wouldn’t be a good fit in Denver. Manziel should take a year or two away from football and re-evaluate his life, mature a little bit, then maybe try to make a comeback. Denver definitely wouldn’t be a good scene for him.
Like Hoyer, Josh McCown is another guy that makes a lot of sense. The NFL journeyman exploded in Cleveland last season putting together a very impressive stretch where he was even among the top fantasy QBs in the NFL. He finished 2015 with 12 TDs to just 4 interceptions.
McCown is a savvy veteran who could sustain Denver’s offensive success. He can put up huge numbers and what better situation to be in than with the Broncos and their loaded WR corps. Give McCown a year to start, and draft a Paxton Lynch or Dak Prescott early on wouldn’t be a terrible plan for the Broncos.
The Broncos have expressed interest in McCown as a potential solution to their QB problem. Cleveland would likely demand a mid-late round draft pick plus a conditional pick for the 36 year-old gunslinger.
When it was reported that the Broncos had inquired about Tyrod Taylor, that took many by surprise, including myself. Why would the Bills want to part with their breakout QB, and what would it take for them to trade him away? There is some familiarity there between Kubiak and Taylor as he served as the offensive coordinator when Taylor was backing up Joe Flacco.
Taylor brings a different skillset to the table than that of Manning and Osweiler. He’s a smaller guy who can move around the pocket. Last season he flourished in his first year as a starter as he tossed 20 TDs to just 6 interceptions and passed for over 3,000 yards.
I doubt we see a contending team like Buffalo and a desperate coach like Rex Ryan trade away their starting QB – especially with E.J. Manuel being the only other signal caller currently on the roster. However, if the Broncos are serious about acquiring Taylor, they may make an offer Buffalo can’t back away from. This will be something to monitor going forward as the Denver QB search continues.