The writing may very well be on the wall for the incumbent quarterback, Drew Lock. His General Manager just swung a low-cost trade for Teddy Bridgewater and could still be in the market to draft a quarterback on Thursday night. George Paton is the new Sheriff in town, makes the personnel decisions, and is giving the NFL a glimpse of how he plans to rehabilitate a franchise that has not reached the playoffs since their Super Bowl 50 win in 2015.
Despite trading for Bridgewater on Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Denver Broncos are not necessarily out of the running to draft a quarterback at #9, or elsewhere. George Paton signed a six-year deal to become the Broncos General Manager, so he does have time on his side if drafting a quarterback doesn’t come to fruition this season.
We also need to keep in mind that Paton may want to let a potential head coaching candidate take part in the decision-making of finding a franchise Quarterback. Vic Fangio will not survive a third straight losing season to start his head coaching career, and he may not survive even if he does have a winning season, yet fail to make the playoffs.
Teddy ain’t no slouch
Broncos country may not be ecstatic to have Teddy Bridgewater as competition for Drew Lock, but they should have an open mind. Bridgewater has been more than a serviceable quarterback in his career at Minnesota, New Orleans, and Carolina, despite inferior talent with the Panthers. He can play game manager very well with Denver’s loaded defense, he can sling the ball to his array of offensive weapons in Denver, and he can be a threat on the run and in the bootleg.
Pair those abilities with lower turnover performances and he is a major upgrade from Lock. Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, Melvin Gordon, and that offensive line should be thrilled to have a veteran like Bridgewater, who at age 29, can realistically become the next comeback quarterback, similar to Ryan Tannehill, to resurrect his career and be the franchise quarterback the Broncos have been searching for since Manning retired.
Coaching staff in limbo
This could very well be a lame-duck season for Vic Fangio and his staff. One on hand, does General Manager George Patton draft a highly touted quarterback in the draft, who may only spend a year with this coaching staff? With a coaching staff who is hell-bent on winning, not trying to develop a rookie quarterback on a make or break season to stay employed? Does Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur wanna roll with Locke or Bridgewater or both this season? Does Vic Fangio pound the table on Thursday night for Micah Parsons to bolster what looks to be a top-five defense on paper?
With so many questions about this coaching staff and the agendas, Lock or a rookie quarterback may be a gamble this staff doesn’t want to take.
Lock may be the third-best quarterback after Thursday’s draft
That could be a hard pill for the organization and Drew Lock to swallow. Assuming one of Trey Lance, Justin Fields or Mac Jones is available at #9 or via trade, drafting any of those individuals makes them the new face of the franchise this season or the following season. If Patton drafts one of the three, Lock is more than likely cut shortly after, assuming he has almost zero trade value.
No General Manager in their right mind would carry three quarterbacks on the roster, two being a rookie and one entering the decisive fifth-year option year. Also, why would Lock be on the roster if you brought in Bridgewater, who has been healthy and productive, to be a place holder for your rookie quarterback, while hosting the incumbent who fell out of favor?
Prediction: Broncos draft and cut Drew Lock shortly after
This prediction comes with one condition: that Trey Lance is on the board and available after the San Francisco 49ers make their selection at #3. If that occurs, Patton can move up or pray that Lance falls to them and takes arguably the individual with the highest ceiling. Despite Trey Lance’s lack of game time at the collegiate level, Patton can appease his own strategy by drafting his franchise player, let him develop, and gives Vic Fangio an upgrade at the starting quarterback with Bridgewater and whomever he wants as the emergency third, as Lock would be waived.