US Sports Veteran
Peyton Manning retired following the 2015 NFL season and a Super Bowl victory. He made just nine starts during the season and finished with nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Luckily, a defense featuring Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, DeMarcus Ware, and Von Miller was able to carry the team. However, the Denver Broncos have not had a defense that star heavy since and the quarterback play has done nothing but hold the team back.
After 2015, the Broncos starting quarterbacks have been Trevor Siemian (24 games), Paxton Lynch (four games), Brock Osweiler (four games), and Case Keenum (16 games). After Keenum went 11-3 as a starter with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017, the Broncos signed him to a two-year, $36 million deal last offseason. The team went 6-11 and Keenum was horribly mediocre. The team needed change, so they fired head coach Vance Joseph and then traded for Joe Flacco.
Now, I don’t want to tell Elway how to do his job, but Flacco feels more like a lateral move than a step up. Sure, he won a Super Bowl, but that was the 2012 season when he was in his age 27 season. Flacco will be entering his age 34 season in 2019, he hasn’t played in a postseason game since 2014, he lost his job to Lamar Jackson in 2018, and 2019 will be his first season on the three-year, $66.4 million deal he signed with Baltimore back in 2016. What part of all that makes you think, “Wow Denver’s gonna be a playoff team now”? They’re in a division with the Kansas City Chiefs who have Patrick Mahomes and the Los Angeles Chargers who have Philip Rivers. Flacco doesn’t compare to those guys.
Let me tell you a stat that summarizes Flacco perfectly. Per Adam Schefter, Flacco has the most passing attempts (5,670), passing yards (38,245), and passing touchdowns (212) of any quarterback to never make the Pro Bowl. He’s never been in that top eight to ten conversation. And he’s the guy Elway has pegged as the short-term solution to all of Denver’s problems. I don’t see this working out in the general manager’s favor. If the Broncos miss the playoffs in 2019, they will have missed the postseason for four years in a row. At that point, you need a new quarterback, you’ll have a second-year head coach, and you might as well just get a new GM.
Denver will focus on finding a place to ship Keenum in the coming weeks. Their only other option is to cut him, but that would carry $10 million in dead cap. That’s the worst-case scenario and it would significantly hamper the team. Think about it, Flacco is owed $18.5 million in base salary this season, add in that dead cap and the Broncos would spend $28.5 million on quarterbacks in 2019. Only Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan make more than that per year. Since I’ve said all that, it should be obvious that the Broncos can’t keep Keenum. He’s set to make $18 million in base salary this coming season. He won’t be on the Broncos roster for much longer, it just depends on how they part ways.
Elway has botched the quarterback situation since the team said goodbye to Manning. He’s already said goodbye to three head coaches. The team has missed the playoffs for three straight years. I know he’s a legend in Denver as a player, but he’s come up short as a general manager as of late. If this Flacco thing doesn’t work out, it’ll be time for Denver to move on from Elway.
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