ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — There is a technique to make a steely-eyed Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback get a bit of uncomfortable in his personal pores and skin.
Just ask John Elway to say “rebuilding.”
Or as Elway put it on the scouting mix: “I didn’t say it. I’m not going to say it. Life is too short to rebuild in the NFL.”
In an effort to elevate the Denver Broncos again into the playoff dialog and to keep away from the dreaded “R” phrase, the Broncos have gone in all-in on Case Keenum, who’s expected to sign with the Broncos when free company formally opens Wednesday afternoon.
The 30-year-outdated Keenum led the Minnesota Vikings to an 11-Three mark in his 14 begins final season in place of an injured Sam Bradford because the Vikings superior to the NFC Championship Game. Keenum, Kirk Cousins and Drew Brees are thought of the highest quarterbacks in free company, with the Broncos closely evaluating Cousins and Teddy Bridgewater earlier than deciding Keenum can be their choose.
The Broncos’ need to improve the offense rapidly sufficient to benefit from a top quality protection got here with a hefty price ticket, which can be revealed as soon as the phrases of the multiyear deal are finalized. But that’s the price of doing enterprise in free company, and Keenum had impeccable timing after he had performed so properly for the Vikings in their playoff run.
Elway is now in his eighth yr because the Broncos’ chief determination-maker. The Broncos have missed the playoffs in every of the previous two seasons, and for the time being, linebacker Von Miller is the one former Broncos draft choose on the roster who has been named to a Pro Bowl.
Miller was in Elway’s first draft class — in 2011.
And simply as of us as soon as used to add up former Denver coach Mike Shanahan’s statistics “without John Elway,” Elway now finds himself generally being measured as a workforce government for what has occurred “without Peyton Manning.” When Elway romped into free company in 2012 and signed Manning, who was not but 100 % after his fourth neck surgical procedure, the end result was 4 AFC West titles, two Super Bowl journeys, one title and a historic season as the one 600-point workforce in league historical past.
In order to attempt to recapture a bit of of that historical past, the Broncos went after Keenum and received him. And it ought to be famous that the Broncos’ finest quarterbacks have largely arrived from someplace else.
Five of the highest seven passers in the franchise’s historical past, together with Elway at No. 1, have arrived both by commerce or by free company. The Broncos had 4 quarterbacks with the workforce this previous season, together with Chad Kelly on injured reserve, who had been former draft picks, and Denver can have merely bypassed all of them to sign Keenum.
While Keenum comes as a “safer” guess than the Broncos utilizing the No. 5 choose of this draft on a quarterback to groom, Elway’s skill to construct the type of workforce that competes for a playoff spot each season will now largely hinge on his skill to construct a roster across the gamers with the largest contracts on the roster — Keenum and Miller.
Miller signed a $114.5 million deal in 2016.
In brief, the Broncos have to be proper on this one. Keenum has to be what the Broncos have seen in their evaluations after which a bit of extra. He has simply two playoff begins in his profession — each this previous January — or two greater than Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch.
But the largest influence of all of that is the multimillion-greenback admission that Lynch has not turn into what the Broncos hoped he can be. The Broncos traded up to choose Lynch in the primary spherical of the 2016 draft. He has misplaced back-to-back coaching camp battles to Siemian and has 4 profession begins, and he misplaced essential developmental time in 2017 with shoulder and ankle accidents.
Keenum’s arrival turns again the clock, or maybe even stops it, on Lynch. Elway has left open the likelihood that Lynch may very well be the workforce’s backup if he is prepared to work on his sport, however in the tip, even certainly one of Elway’s most notable first-spherical picks could not keep away from the workforce’s present mission.
Because if you cannot assist Elway keep away from a rebuild, you may be moved apart for many who can.