Brock Osweiler dropped a nuclear bomb on Denver today when he left town for Houston. The former Arizona State standout was thought to be the heir apparent to Peyton Manning but a $72 million dollar contract over four years made the Texans the highest bidder.
Earlier this week Peyton Manning decided to go out on top and retired after winning Super Bowl 50. Osweiler was drafted by John Elway in 2012 and was being groomed to take over under center. Now with him bolting for Texas the Broncos suddenly find themselves without a starting quarterback for the 2016 season. And to make matters worse, they are picking dead last in the first round after winning the Super Bowl so finding a QB will be just a little bit harder.
Picking at #31 in the 2016 NFL Draft the Broncos won’t be able to get Paxton Lynch, Carson Wentz or Jared Goff who are thought to be drafted in the first half of the first round. Connor Cook, Christian Hackenburg and Dak Prescott are the next three best prospects but neither are a sure thing. Prescott will likely have the best career of the three but he may not fit into Gary Kubiak’s offense. Unless Elway intends to trade up he will have to go with one of the three in the second round and hope for the best.
There are options in free agency. Robert Griffin III is available but he’s been injured and carries a lot of baggage from his time in Washington. There are other journeyman QBs available like Matt Cassel, Jimmy Claussen, Brandon Weeden, Charlie Whitehurst and Ryan Fitzpatrick. None of those really jump out at you although Fitzpatrick could be a band-aid at QB until they bring along a prospect from the draft.
Fitzpatrick has been around the league almost guided the Jets to the playoffs last year after starting QB Geno Smith got sucker-punched by a teammate in the preseason. Fitzpatrick was a game manager and had New York a win away from the playoffs in week 17 but a loss to the Bills doomed them to another year without a playoff game.
Another rumor floating out there is Colin Kaepernick. The 49ers QB was a star two years ago when he signed an extension but last year was benched in favor of backup Blaine Gabbert without Jim Harbaugh there to guide him.
Kaepernick has made it no secret that he wants out of San Fransisco. With new head coach Chip Kelly in place Kap was thought be getting new life but when his agent went around at the Combine angling for a trade we knew it was over for him in the Bay.
Like RG3, Kaepernick may not be a good fit in Kubiak’s system and Denver may have to taylor the offense to fit a mobile QB if they have to go after Kap or Griffin.
No matter how you look at it Denver is in a bad spot having to come up with a quarterback to replace Peyton Manning and being stuck with the last pick. The defense will likely carry whoever they pick up and the team could make it back to the playoffs but fans should enjoy being NFL champs because once the season starts in September it’s going to be a rocky road.