There is no doubt that finding a franchise quarterback is the top priority for the Denver Broncos to address this offseason, but how that is accomplished is the major question the franchise is facing. Do they go all-in and make an unbelievable pitch to free agent signal caller Kirk Cousins or do they opt to go a different route and attempt to make a move for one of the best collegiate quarterbacks in the 2018 NFL Draft?
There’s no overall consensus across Broncos Country on the subject. Some love the idea of Cousins, a lot of them hate it. But I get the feeling that if it isn’t Cousins, most fans just want to see the team roll the dice in the draft on one of the best quarterback prospects available. However, Broncos players such as Von Miller have made it no secret that they covet Cousins, and believe he is the piece the team needs to get in order to become immediate Super Bowl contenders.
For the first installment of Mile High Report’s Free Agency round table, I asked the staff one of the biggest questions of the offseason: “Are you all-in on Kirk Cousin’s? If not, who do you want them to get to be their franchise quarterback?”
It’s a staff divided with no clear consensus on what the Broncos should do at the quarterback position. There are those of us (including myself) who believe that Cousins is the best short-term and long-term option for the team. One staffer in particular is baffled at the idea of paying him nearly $30 million a season. Some believe a bridge option in free agency plus a rookie quarterback is the way to go, while others want the team to use the high pick on a quarterback and devote salary cap to building the team up in other areas in free agecy.
Ian St. Clair:
There’s no other move for John Elway and the Broncos to make in free agency. All we’ve heard since the season ended is that Denver is a “quarterback away.” That isn’t coming from fans or media, but from Elway and Vance Joseph. I’m “all-in” on Cousins because it unlocks the anchor from the Broncos’ leg of having to get a quarterback. Not getting Cousins leaves so much out of their control: Elway would have to trade up to the No. 1 pick to guarantee he gets “his guy.” That’s because so many other teams are in desperate need of a quarterback and will look to jump over the Broncos. If Denver gets Cousins, it’s now free to take the best player on its board (I didn’t say “best player available” so as not to piss off Scotty). Adam, Jeff, Laurie and I had a great discussion on Cousins, free agency and what to expect when the start of the league year finally gets here on the latest MHR Radio Podcast. Yet as I mentioned on the podcast, there is one option that seemed impossible a few weeks ago that could happen. Heck, it still might be impossible but if this option hits the “legal tampering” period, and as it stands now it will, Elway will pounce. That option is, of course, Drew Brees.
With #NFLFreeAgency beginning soon, the @MileHighReport Radio Podcast had some fun. @JeffreyEssary and @docllv joined @AdamMalnati16 and me to discuss free agency, the Aqib Talib trade, and we use the term legal tampering. It's a lot of fun. https://t.co/kNrTU6EkQZ— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) March 10, 2018
Not at the price it’s gong to take. Cousins will be the highest paid player in the NFL yet he isn’t even remotely close to the best player in the NFL. He’s landed in the perfect scenario for him where teams are so starved for non-crap QB play that they’ll severely overpay for a competent QB. He’s lucky that he’s the best free agent QB out there or else he’d be one of the “also rans” who are getting $18-20m/year. Even though that number makes me cringe, that’s about where he belongs salary wise. But who else is there?
Brees isn’t leaving New Orleans, so that leaves Cousins as the only actual QB worth having. And because of hat, he’s being treated as the best QB in the NFL even though he’s nowhere close. Stats are pretty, but stats are the framework to the picture. And while it’s an OK picture, it’s not worth $30 million per year. He has an abysmal record versus .500 teams, meaning he can’t beat a statistically “average” team. And we will hear excuse after excuse for him such as “look at the team around him?” and then list off player after player he needed to win.
I heard it all before from the Broncos fan base in support of Siemian. How we just needed player X healthy, or go after player Y in free agency. And if we just did that, then Siemian can flourish. Guess what? I’m out of excuses for our QB. To be paid the best, you need to be the best — and Cousins isn’t raising any boats and he isn’t elevating anyone’s game. He’s an upgrade to what we have sure, but the resources it will take to secure him can and should be spent elsewhere to build a juggernaut of a team for the rookie QB we should go after.
And that QB? Baker Mayfield. Structure an offense around him and keep that defense in the Top 2-3, and that’s a recipe for success just like Seattle had with Russell Wilson and just like the Eagles and Rams have with their second-year QBs. Why do we have to watch other teams do it right? Why can’t we finally do it right? And those wanting Cousins so bad, ask yourself this: The Redskins have seen this cat since draft day and not only are they letting him walk for free, but they’re choosing Alex freaking Smith over him. So you really think the dude who Alex Smith makes expendable is the answer? C’mon man! Stop being so desperate! Desperation is a stinky cologne!
I was. Kirk Cousins would have been the “quick fix” signing that GM John Elway has been looking for. However, the competition for Cousins is stiff and by all accounts, he will likely sign with the Minnesota Vikings. It sucks, but not that end of the world. The Broncos have the 5th pick in the draft and the 3rd most draft picks to move up for a Baker Mayfield or Josh Rosen if needed.
It’s a new year, but the same thing, Brock Osweiler, Colin Kaepernick, Tony Romo, Kirk Cousins with a side of Case Keenum and A.J. McCarron, because why wouldn’t the Broncos be interested in a backup quarterback whose upside is Paxton Lynch? Sign Teddy Bridgewater for $10MM or whatever gaudy number they have to come up with for him, make $7MM dependent on if he makes the team and draft your pick of the litter: Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen or Josh Allen.
MHR Live: We’ve got a final QB discussion discussing nearly every option and a deep dive into the RBs.— The Orange Page (@theorangepage) March 8, 2018
Oh, and is Aqib Talib gone for real? We’ll tell you the latest. Join me and the best group of Broncos fans on the planet live on @MileHighReport: https://t.co/z3QfKE8FdL pic.twitter.com/ShyQ587MIG
I was, but it is looking more and more likely he has chosen the Minnesota Vikings. My biggest fear is that the Broncos “Plan B” is Case Keenum and Josh Allen. Why else would they need a “bridge” quarterback? Every other Top 5 quarterback on the board is basically ready to start Week 1. This front office has me unnerved right now.
Going “all-in” on anything is a recipe for disappointment.
There are three ways to acquire a QB: trade, free agency, draft. Trade options are usually costly and there isn’t much available on that front right now.
Fortunately for Denver, the best free agent QB since Peyton Manning (note: I am in no way comparing the two players. Merely pointing out that Cousins is the best one to hit the open market since Peyton) is available this year, so why would Denver not pursue him with all they have.
Luckily, we also hold the #5 pick in a loaded QB draft class, so if it doesn’t work out in free agency, move on to the draft. But, Denver would be foolish to not give it their best shot to upgrade the position using every avenue available. If,
Would I be happy if Kirk ended up in Denver? Absolutely, and I have yet to see a legitimate knock against his actual play on the field and ability to play the quarterback position. Instead, the talk has been all around his win/loss record and playoffs etc. which I find fascinating that Denver Broncos fans of all fan bases are using this argument as we’ve defended our two greatest quarterbacks (Elway, Manning) against the crowd who want to equate wins and losses with quarterback success when we know from our own eyes that it isn’t the case.
Cousins is definitely the option that brings the Broncos the most success the fastest. The core of the team is starting to age a bit, and it would be ideal to not waste a year (or more) of their primes while a rookie gets his feet under him. Cousins, combined with the defense, makes the Broncos an instant favorite to win the division and a Super Bowl contender. There have been plenty of posts pointing out this or that stat about him, so I’ll just say this: despite claims to the contrary, Cousins does improve the team around him.
The Redskins deserved to be in the same conversation with the Browns for the last couple years, and instead he had them winning 5 or 6 more games than they would have. Put him on a much better roster in a far better organization and I think he’ll flourish a la Drew Brees in New Orleans. Signing him will also greatly expand the options available to the team in the draft, and that’s a great thing. Elway should go get him if it’s at all possible.
On the negatives side, I’m less worried about the price tag than I am about the reports that Cousins wants just a 3 year contract. I can understand him being wary of tying himself to a team long term after his experience with the Redskins, but the team needs some assurances too. So it won’t be the end of the world if we miss out on him. It’s a good year to be at the top end of the draft and in need of a QB. Baker Mayfield is QB1 for me, and a guy that I think will have a long and successful NFL career. I’d love for him to be our starter this fall- and that’s coming from a guy whose entire family roots for OU’s biggest rival. Rosen is a close second to Mayfield, and Darnold is worth it at 5 as well. Just say hell no to Josh Allen at 5.
I don't get all the Keenum + Rookie talk around the Broncos. Why in the world would they voluntarily repeat the mistakes of the 2017 Bears?— Taylor Kothe (@taylorkothe_nfl) March 8, 2018
If Cousins goes to MIN, sign an affordable veteran backup and draft your starter at 5 or earlier. $20M for a stopgap is nonsense.
I’m all-in on that it is the best option to make the Broncos successful in the short-term. He’s the one guy who can step in and make a huge impact in 2018 for the team. I don’t think it is highly likely that we land him though, I’d put that at around a thirty-percent chance of happening.
If the alternative is Josh Allen and Case Keenum? Yes, however I do think Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield and Siemian or Osweiler is good enough.
I was originally on the Baker Mayfield train, and I suppose I have never fully gotten off. However, I have shifted my thought process. Cousins is very comparable to Drew Brees at this same point in his career, and we all know how that has worked out for the Saints. Cousins frees the Broncos up in the draft, and gives them an immediate boost to the offense. They become AFC West favorites again, and look like Super Bowl contenders with Cousins under center. If Elway can get it done, the Broncos have a shot at winning it all every year for the next 3 to 5 years.
Obviously, if it isn’t Cousins, it has to be Mayfield. He is the QB with best accuracy. He is the most exciting, and he looks like a guy who is going to develop into a real leader in the NFL. If the Broncos can get him, they must get it done. He looks like he could set the franchise up for success for the next decade.
As @JeffreyEssary told @IanStClair and I on the @MileHighReport Radio Podcast, the free agent class isn't very strong. There is #KirkCousins and not much else. The #Broncos should stay away from other veteran QBs and target #BakerMayfield or #JoshRosen.https://t.co/Rh8WsRbYJc— Adam Malnati (@AdamMalnati16) March 10, 2018
Broncos have the pieces to put around a QB to win it all in 2018. If you think that we have enough on offense and defense to win with a top tier QB, then you should be all-in on the Broncos getting Cousins. If you don’t, then throwing 30 million per year at QB is pointless. I tend to think that even with Cousins we don’t have and won’t have enough to win it all in 2018. The offensive line, defensive line, running backs and linebackers are all below average as position groups relative to the rest of the league. You don’t win it all with that many holes in your boat. I’m all-in on Baker Mayfield as our next franchise QB.
As for myself, I’ve been all-in on the Broncos acquiring Kirk Cousins for quite some time. I believe he is a very good starting quarterback and a tremendous upgrade at the position. His presence on the team opens up so much more for the Broncos in the draft, who would have the ability to take their top-rated player on the board and not have to trade away draft capital to get a quarterback in the draft. With eleven picks at his disposal, John Elway could make some major waves in April by maneuvering the draft landscape to land the best players at the team’s position of needs.
I like idea of Kirk Cousins, plus a top five player and moving back into the first round to get another dynamic prospect. I’d also use some of those extra fourth and fifth round selections to move up on Day 2 and get other top-ranked players at spots that need starting caliber players. While I’m often an advocate of getting the most picks as possible, there simply isn’t room for eleven rookies on the 2018 roster, so why not go up and get the best players who can contribute immediately?
The recipe for success is Cousins and dominating in the 2018 NFL Draft. The latter should be much easier to accomplish than the former, but if Elway can somehow check the boxes in both these areas — he will set them up to be Super Bowl contenders, just like he did when he took over all those years ago.
So Broncos Country — are you all-in on Kirk Cousins? Sound off in the comments section and give us your thoughts on what you believe the Broncos should do at the quarterback position this offseason.
Are you all-in on Kirk Cousins?
This poll is closed
Yes. He’s the best shot for us to be competitive now and from now on.
No. The Broncos should sign somebody else in free agency or draft their quarterback of the future.