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Back on the quarterback carousel

The Denver Broncos are back in the position of needing a starting quarterback

Denver Broncos v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images

Russell Wilson could be the Denver Broncos starting quarterback in 2024, but the chances of that happening are about the same as the Broncos winning the Super Bowl this season.

According to Spotrac.com, Wilson will have a cap hit of $35.4MM with $85MM. The salary cap for 2024 will be about $224.8MM. That means if that if the Broncos take the full dead cap hit in one season (which they probably wouldn’t since that would be ‘cap hell’) they would have more than one third of the team’s cap tied up in dead money for one player. There could also be some more dead cap if the Broncos move on from players like D.J. Jones (3MM) and/or Tim Patrick (6MM). Jones played relatively poorly in 2023 and Patrick hasn’t played since 2021 (and he’s on the wrong side of 30, which is ancient for NFL WRs).

So the Broncos find themselves back in the all too familiar position of wondering who will be the starting QB in 2024. While Wilson or Jarett Stidham are both possibilities, they are both long-shots at this point. Most watchers think that the Broncos will draft a QB with their first pick in the 2024 draft and some think that they will even trade up to do so. There is plenty of recent examples of teams trading up from 12 to get a QB. See those cited by Taylor in the linked tweet.

But let’s assume that the Broncos decide that they have too many roster holes and too little cap to fill them with free agents so that they want to maximize the number of cheap players that they can get from this draft. That might lead to a trade down, which could mean that the Broncos end up with a pick later in the first AND a second round pick this year. They could still end up with the fourth QB drafted even in that scenario. Below is a table of every 4th QB drafted this century.

Year QB Slot
2024 ? ?
2023 Will Levis 33
2022 Matt Corral 137
2021 Justin Fields 11
2020 Jordan Love 26
2019 Drew Lock 42
2018 Josh Rosen 10
2017 DeShone Kizer 52
2016 Christian Hackenberg 51
2015 Sean Mannion 89
2014 Derek Carr 36
2013 Matt Barkley 98
2012 Brandon Weeden 22
2011 Christian Ponder 12
2010 Colt McCoy 85
2009 Pat White 44
2008 Chad Henne 57
2007 John Beck 40
2006 Kellen Clemens 49
2005 Charlie Frye 67
2004 J.P. Losman 22
2003 Rex Grossman 22
2002 Josh McCown 81
2001 Marques Tuiasosopo 59
2000 Tee Martin 163

While this is lot mostly populated by failed NFL QBs, Jordan Love, Justin Fields and Derek Carr have to offer some hope that the 4th QB drafted is not somehow predestined for NFL failure. While I doubt that Matt Corral even develops into a quality NFL starting QB, Will Levis still could. Some would argue that Fields and Love already are and the Lock-stans would argue that Drew still could be.

With much left to be determined, the 4th QB off the board will most likely be Bo Nix or Michael Penix. Of the two, I don’t want the Broncos to even think about drafted Penix. The history of over-drafting injury-prone players is too much to think about a guy like Penix who has had more surgeries than a Hollywood star.

Poll

Which QB do you think will be the 4th one picked in the 2024 draft?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    Bo Nix
    (583 votes)
  • 14%
    Michael Penix
    (153 votes)
  • 5%
    Jayden Daniels
    (57 votes)
  • 20%
    JJ McCarthy
    (223 votes)
  • 4%
    Michael Pratt
    (46 votes)
1062 votes total Vote Now