The Denver Broncos are officially in a weird spot. Peyton Manning retired this past Monday and just days later, they lost their top backup plan. With Manning’s career over and Brock Osweiler now a member of the Houston Texans, the NFL’s reigning Super Bowl champs have a lot of work to do if they’re going to be serious about defending their title.
Many have already probably written off that possibility, but thanks to an elite defense, it may not take a Hall of Fame presence under center to keep Denver very much in the mix to make another storied run. After all, Manning himself was a shell of what he used to be and was asked to do very little in Super Bowl 50.
While it’s open for debate what type of quarterback the Broncos may need to try to win another title, their options might not be. The player pool is rather limited and with the last pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, it’s pretty likely they won’t get their answer in this year’s draft. So, what do John Elway and co. do? Here are five interesting options they are already considering or should at least think about:
If the Broncos believe they can get by with a slightly above average quarterback who can manage most games and win a couple of his own, paying to bring in Ryan Fitzpatrick might be their best move. Denver has reportedly already been in touch with Fitzpatrick, who is coming off a career 2015 run (31 passing touchdowns) and still has a couple of solid seasons left in him. He is definitely a “what you see is what you get” type of player with a low ceiling, but he is a bit of a gamer that usually brings a smart approach to the game. It’s possible the Broncos could still miss the playoffs with Fitzpatrick, but he’s good enough to keep hope alive for a repeat Super Bowl bid, too.
Trade For Colin Kaepernick
This is probably the sexy play, albeit one that still comes with risk. Not only does Kaepernick come with a big contract, got hurt last year and appeared to have regressed horrifically, but he doesn’t even want to go to Denver. For some reason he likes Hue Jackson and wants to go to the Browns.
Here’s a sentiment not many have shared recently: Colin Kaepernick wants to play in Cleveland. Respects Hue Jackson. Browns-Niners talking.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2016
This is a better situation in every possible way for him, but we do need to consider that Elway got rid of Tim Tebow for similar reasons – he was a run-oriented passer who didn’t consistently win from the pocket.
Kaepernick has flashed insane ability, but he also has never stepped up his game inside the pocket. Elway could think he can get the most out of him, though, and of his options to this point, this one may carry the most pure upside. Kaepernick has been in a Super Bowl before, too, so surrounded with a quality team again, he could quickly bounce back to his old form.
Give RG3 a Try
RG3 is a slightly riskier version of Kaepernick, but he can be had for much less and no trade is necessary. The Redskins cut Robert Griffin III loose just recently and he could potentially come to Denver on a cheap “prove it” deal. There is no denying he’s fallen off the map as a passer due to awful pocket presence and a slew of injuries, but he’s still not that far removed from an awesome rookie campaign. In the right situation, it’s not crazy to imagine him finding success again. After all, a healthy and refocused RG3 could be a very dangerous dual threat and he does have post-season experience stemming from his first season in the league.
Trust in Johnny Football
The options are getting crazier, as you can probably tell. Manziel is younger than the other options and still has the pedigree of a first round pick and Heisman winner. His off-field antics and decision-making are a complete joke and he’s probably more of a distraction than he’s worth, but there is still untapped talent here. The Browns wanting nothing to do with him probably tells us all we need to know, but if Denver and co. think they can get through to him, Johnny Football could be a fit.
It’s also worth noting that Broncos star linebacker and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller alluded to the possibility of Manziel becoming a Bronco.
Wait For the Draft
This might be the smartest move. With the ebb and flow of the draft, it is very possible a quality arm slides into Elway’s grasp. Whether it’s a huge prospect like Paxton Lynch or someone who would require a little work like Connor Cook, there is talent to be had in this year’s quarterback pool. Denver could add a young passer to groom and then bring someone else like a Matt Cassel off the street to bide them some time. These moves would be a virtual white flag for 2016, but for the long-term, it may be the Broncos’ best play. That being said, it’d be their worst shot at repeating and may even have them missing the playoffs.
Think you know what the Broncos are going to do or should do? Tell us in the comments below!