The Denver Broncos are having a rough year. Worse yet, they’re not exactly set at quarterback. Joe Flacco hasn’t recreated the magic he had in Baltimore, and if John Elway is fired this offseason expect his draft pick of Drew Lock to be deposed as the QB of the future. So, what can the Broncos do? Here are five quarterbacks Denver could get in the offseason.
1. Jameis Winston
As talented as he is inconsistent, Jameis Winston will be a free agent this offseason if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers don’t re-sign him. Whether they do greatly depends on how he plays for the rest of the season.
Winston hasn’t performed well this year — a five-interception effort against the Rams in Week 6 stands out as especially dreadful. But that’s where the Broncos may benefit. If the Bucs let him walk, then the Broncos have a shot to get him at a discounted price.
It would be a risk for sure. Winston has a lot to change about how he performs on the field as well as off it. But he’s still young, and with the right culture in place, the Broncos could turn him around.
2. Tua Tagovailoa
The Broncos currently only have two wins through Week 8. Where they draft depends on how they finish the season, but they’re certainly in the running for a top-five pick right now. If a miracle happens and bottom feeders like Miami, Washington, and Cincinnati leapfrog them, Denver may get the No. 1 overall pick.
If so, the answer is clear: Take Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. He’s got a cannon for an arm and is nimble on his feet. Tagovailoa is also a proven winner; two seasons ago he led the Alabama Crimson Tide to a victory in the national championship game and got them another appearance last year.
3. Joe Burrow
Traditionally, the LSU Tigers are known for their running game. But this year head coach Ed Orgeron tapped passing game coordinator Joe Brady to let Joe Burrow lead the offense through the air, and the team is benefitting.
Burrow may be the best quarterback in college this year. He’s had 30 touchdowns and only four interceptions this season. While Tagovailoa seems to have a more complete skill set, Burrow is pro-ready. He looks like he could step in for a few teams on Sunday right now.
4. Jalen Hurts
Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts is yet another highly talented quarterback who will almost certainly go in the first round of next year’s draft. In fact, he probably won’t make it out of the top five. Burrow and Tagovailoa will likely go ahead of him, but Hurts is an equally intriguing prospect.
Going with Hurts allows the Broncos to hit the reset button on the franchise without having to rebuild too much. They’ll need to address other areas, but look at how other teams going with younger quarterbacks fared recently. Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, and Dak Prescott prove you can contend without a lot of experience under center.
5. Dak Prescott
File this one under “wishful thinking.” There’s little chance Prescott is available by the time free agency hits, but the Broncos can dream. The only potential knock on Prescott? The Cowboys are a run-first team with an amazing offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott. In Denver, Prescott would need to do way more to win games with his arm than he does in Dallas.
Even so, this situation probably won’t happen. But if talks break down with the Cowboys and Prescott hits the open market, the Broncos would be fools not to make him an offer. They’d have to give up a lot of money, but he’d be their best quarterback since Peyton Manning.