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If there’s no Rodgers/Wilson in Denver’s future, should it be Drew Lock time?

I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but yeah, maybe.

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Good morning, Broncos Country!

The NFL Combine begins this week to open the new NFL year, and that means a lot of evaluation about interesting-but-not-necessarily-important metrics for hundreds of NFL hopefuls.

Don’t get me wrong. The metrics have value - particularly when ranking two players at a position who are seemingly “tied” when it comes to their performance stats.

And those metrics can be a little like the SAT - a semi-neutral playing field to avoid overlooking players just because they went to a non-FBS school or because they don’t play a lot of tough competition.

Plus, who doesn’t like to see which player will break the speed barrier or show off a vertical higher than my head?

As usual the press will go to the projected first-round guys and most of that attention will still fall on the quarterbacks. And for teams like Denver - still in the hunt for a winning (if not franchise) QB - there will have to be attention paid to this QB class even if it’s not considered a stout one.

But how George Paton & Co. view the quarterbacks this week will depend a lot on the direction they choose to go at QB - or the direction that is chosen for them (i.e., Aaron Rodgers stays with the Packers; Russell Wilson stays with the Seahawks...)

The Options

1. Sign an elite vet QB

Obviously this means Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson, and obviously this isn’t just up to the Broncos. In fact, very little of it may be up to the Broncos if a) either team doesn’t want to trade their star QB; b) either QB doesn’t really want to leave; and c) even if A or B works out, the QB doesn’t want to come to Denver.

Rodgers has remained coy, hinting at wanting to leave while also goading Green Bay to do the things that will make him stay - such as paying him handsomely while also giving Davante Adams the long-term contract the wide receiver wants and likely deserves.

And Wilson has continued his passive-aggressive way of pushing the Seahawks to give him what he wants.

No matter the scenario that unfolds, the Broncos know they can only express their desire so much and for so long. At the end of the day, Rodgers decides/Wilson decides. And until then, the Broncos need to be considering Plans B, C, D...as unpalatable as those may be.

2. Sign a Tier 2/3/4 veteran QB

Oh that’s so 2021. And 2019. And 2018 ... you see where this is going, right?

I have nothing against Kirk Cousins (well, not really) or Jimmy Garoppolo or Marcus Mariota or any of the other free agent QB rejects.

ow some of these guys keep getting teams to pay them big bucks for basically sucking is beyond me. But I could ask John Elway to help me understand because Denver is on that list of sucker teams.

Joe Rowles did a nice “tier ranking” of all the quarterback options, which was well thought-out. My problem is that I really lump all the vet QBs who aren’t elite in the same tier - the “no thank you” tier.

Interestingly, in Gregg Rosenthal’s ranking of all 62 quarterbacks who started in 2021, Teddy Bridgewater at No. 18 is the highest of the free agents except for Kirk Cousins (No. 13). Garropolo follows at 20, Jameis Winston at 21, Andy Dalton at 33, and so on.

And personally, if this is the route the Broncos go, I’d prefer Bridgewater. He’s a favorite in the locker room, and he would not break the bank for little more than mid-tier performance.

3. Go with Drew Lock; draft a QB

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that this is my first choice if the Broncos don’t land Wilson or Rodgers.

It’s not that I’ve ever been anti-Lock, it’s that I don’t believe he “just needs more time.” I think Lock will always be high risk, high reward. That can be awesome or that can be annoying.

The problem is that he’ll ALWAYS be that, which means every season, every game will be a gamble as to which way it goes. That’s fun for a few games. It’s old when there’s a costly mistake too often.

But for the record, last year I was always against the idea of a “veteran hedge” quarterback to compete with Drew Lock (and I say that as someone who likes Teddy Bridgewater a lot). I preferred just letting Lock have the starter blessing to see what would happen.

And though I completely understood the rationale of Vic Fangio - who was playing it safe with Bridgewater in order to give himself a better shot at a winning season - I thought the Broncos would be better off risking it with Lock in order to see the potential (or not) and then move on one way or another this season.

As it turns out, Broncos are essentially in the same place they were this time last season -except there’s no Von Miller to feel indebted to by fielding a contender. And without that obligation, along with a brand new coaching staff that will have a slightly longer leash than Fangio had last season, there’s room to fail, room to see where Lock’s “boom or bust” takes Denver.

So what’s the right move?

Although there’s a little “room for failure” this season, there may not be enough patience within Broncos Country for a seventh losing season. But Broncos Country - and possibly even the Broncos - may not have much choice.

Personally, for the cost and for the potential to get back to being a winning franchise sooner rather than later, I lean toward seeing No. 3 named the unequivocal starter.

Especially if there’s no shot at an elite veteran to save us from this “just a QB away” hell we’ve been lingering in for six years, I lean toward Lock. Supporters could finally shut up about him not getting a fair shake, and if Lock doesn’t take Denver to the Promised Land, the Broncos move on and draft a QB in 2023.

Poll

Best option - if no Rodgers/Wilson on the table?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Kirk Cousins
    (203 votes)
  • 5%
    Teddy Bridgewater
    (102 votes)
  • 3%
    Some other mid-level, veteran QB to get us 7-9 wins...
    (58 votes)
  • 72%
    Drew Lock
    (1376 votes)
  • 8%
    "Shasta" (other)
    (158 votes)
1897 votes total Vote Now

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