We now know that the Broncos will be making a change at QB. Brock Osweiler will start for the Broncos on Sunday as of Wednesday morning. However, most will agree that he is not the permanent solution for this team. The Broncos have a serious problem. Who really should be the permanent quarterback of the Denver Broncos? How can Vance Joseph or John Elway fix the Broncos QB situation?
How To Fix The Broncos QB Situation
Inside The Broncos Locker Room
First, we should obviously look at the seventh-round pick Trevor Siemian. He threw 18 touchdowns to 10 interceptions last year and is currently at 9 touchdowns to 10 interceptions this year. He is on pace to double his interceptions from last year while maintaining an equal number of touchdowns. It is pretty clear that he is regressing quickly. With no real shining spot in his career, even going back to his college days, there is just no hope that he will turn it around at QB. He probably peaked in weeks 1 and 2 and while he is a premium backup in the league, he’s no starter.
Second, there’s second-round pick Brock Osweiler. A movie should be made about this guy’s career up to this point. After sitting on the bench for three years as the heir-apparent to Peyton Manning, he came out and shined for the Broncos during their Super Bowl run. He posted a 5-2 record during that stretch which includes beating the Patriots on a snowy night in Denver. Then he went to Houston for top dollar and posted an anemic performance with 15 TDs and 16 picks. After that, he was shipped to the Browns and then came to Denver. He has come full circle, and nothing would complete that statement more than if he finds a way to light it up in Denver after sitting for half of the season.
The real problem with Osweiler for the Broncos is the fact that he wants a lot of money. Let’s say he finishes the season and helps the Broncos make the playoffs, as he helped them in 2015. At the end of his contract, he is going to want more money than he is worth and GM John Elway will decline, putting the Broncos in the same spot they were in after Manning retired. Osweiler could be a stop-gap measure, but he is not the real franchise QB that the Broncos have been searching for.
Then there’s 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch. While some young QBs need time before coming into the game, Lynch has been unable to eclipse Trevor Siemian as the starter for two years. He might get his shot to start this year, but I would not get my hopes up that he will be the savior of this team. If he could not beat out Siemian for the starting job then it is unlikely that he will take off, especially since he has only practiced for about four days since preseason week 3.
Finally, the last QB in the Broncos’ possession is Chad Kelly, 2017’s Mr. Irrelevant. He boasted 50 TDs to 21 interceptions in college. While that ratio looks decent, he has no listed playing time in the NFL. That makes him a 100 percent wild-card. He could shine, but it is highly likely that he would not. He really is the last option in the locker room at this point.
Outside The Locker Room
Since the trade deadline is over, the Broncos will probably not get a new QB until the offseason. Once the offseason comes, the most exciting QB possibility with any tiny chance of happening lies with Andrew Luck. He’s thrown 132 TDs to 68 INTs since 2012. However, he has not seen the field at all this year due to a shoulder injury that just will not go away. As of November 2, he has been placed on IR and will not play this year.
This is not the first season that he has missed a large part or all of, either. He missed nine games in 2015 due to injury as well. His last full season was in 2014. The Colts have a recent history of shipping out injured QBs after a terrible season (Peyton Manning). The Colts are now on pace for a 4-12 season. There is a small chance that either: the Colts want to get a less injury-prone QB, that Elway can convince Luck that he can give him a Super Bowl just like he gave one to Manning, or that Luck himself is tired of not having the pieces around him that would make him succeed (with the exception of T.Y. Hilton). Overall, he would be the dream-scenario QB for the Broncos. It’s not realistically very likely, but there’s still a small chance.
Kirk Cousins is the other possible option. He has thrown 85 TDs to 46 INTs since 2012. He has not been quiet about his frustrations with the front office, either. Namely, he wants to be one of the highest paid QBs in the league. He would be the second-best option for the team in terms of production, but the likelihood of signing him is still pretty low. The Redskins obviously need him, so there’s a good chance that they re-sign him to a franchise tag or a better deal. Even if he hits the open market, there are upwards of a dozen teams that need a new quarterback. If history serves, Elway does not like to get into bidding wars over QBs so he might not even be interested. However, regardless of what Elway thinks, he should be pursued.
Other than Luck and Cousins, there are not any really good options out there. Some might say that the Broncos should take a look at taking one of the Vikings’ quarterbacks, but the Vikings are not parting with Teddy Bridgewater anytime soon and Case Keenum and Sam Bradford, while probably better than the QBs on the Broncos’ roster, are not really the solution either. The Broncos will probably be looking at drafting a QB in the offseason.
Playing For Success
The Broncos have started Osweiler at QB against the Eagles, but they have not said definitively what they will do after that. I recommend that they ride with the hot hand. Meaning, they should keep Osweiler in as the starter until he starts to do poorly. Paxton can use this time to prepare to start. However, if Osweiler doesn’t get cold for four or five weeks and the Broncos find themselves in a position to make the playoffs then they should keep him in the game. Having said that, Paxton should still expect to become the starter within a month. The Broncos should roll with him until week 17 unless they find themselves in a position where they can still make the playoffs. If week 17 arrives and there is no hope of making the playoffs, the Broncos should start Chad Kelly or at least give him a half in order to see what he can do, provided that they don’t put him on IR this week. If the Broncos do not make the playoffs this year, they will need to start over with the draft.
Overall, the Broncos are not in a good spot. They are so close to being a dominant team, they just need a QB. Where will that player come from? If the Broncos continue to slide, it would be a good idea to watch the college playoffs closely, because one of those players will likely end up as the next Broncos QB.