John Elway has built himself into a Colorado legend first as quarterback of the Denver Broncos from 1983-1998 that include five Super Bowl trips and two titles and again as Head of Football Operations from 2011 to now that saw another two Super Bowl trips and one more title.
John Elway has always known winning as a member of the Denver Broncos. Until now...
Since Peyton Manning retired, the Broncos have been stuck in quarterback purgatory that Elway has tried in vain to fix. To be fair to him, the pickings were slim.
With each passing year, it seems Elway is hesitant to pull the trigger on a big-time, risky move. Instead, playing it more cautious. First, he didn’t have enough star power and finances to compete with the Minnesota Vikings for Kirk Cousins and, instead, landed Case Keenum for $18 million a year. Then, he had a chance to get a quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft with both Josh Allen and Josh Rosen available, but instead drafted Bradley Chubb.
That decision looks smart so far, but he could have been more aggressive to move up ahead of the New York Jets to grab Sam Darnold, who has been much better than the other rookies so far.
In 2017, Elway decided not to mortgage their draft future in an attempt to aggressive pursue a quarterback. Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson went 10th and 12th while the Broncos stood firm drafting Garett Bolles who has led the NFL in penalties since coming into the league.
In 2016, Elway picked up the scraps left on the table left by the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles who traded up to the 1st and 2nd spot for their franchise quarterbacks. The Eagles won a Super Bowl last year and the Rams look like the best team in football this year. Elway sat back and traded up to beat the Dallas Cowboys to Paxton Lynch. However, Lynch turned out to be one of the biggest busts in NFL history and the Broncos were saddled with Trevor Siemian for two forgotten seasons.
The plain and simple fact is that Elway has approached the long-term solution at quarterback with trepidation and risk-aversion. That is now killing Elway and the Broncos as the losses begin to mount.
And time is running out for Elway.
In fact, 2019 or 2020 will end up being the time for one last Hail Mary from Elway. One that will make or break his legacy in Denver. Nothing can take away from his accomplishments, but failing to recover after Manning’s departure would leave a permanent stain on his years in the front office.
In my opinion, he has one task ahead of him for the next two years. Find a quarterback he and his staff is convinced we be the next star in the NFL and go all-in like the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans did in 2017 and the Rams/Eagles in 2016.
It may not work out - as they usually don’t - but the time for lollygagging with the most important position in the game has come and gone for Elway.
Should Elway be more aggressive in the NFL Draft for a franchise QB?
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