Subscribe for 33¢ / day

DENVER, Colo. — The Broncos have found their quarterback.

When the free agency period officially begins Wednesday afternoon, former Vikings quarterback Case Keenum plans to sign with Denver, NFL sources confirmed.

ESPN first reported the impending deal.

Although Kirk Cousins has been touted as the top quarterback to hit free agency this year, the Broncos, after extensive evaluation of all their options, felt more comfortable with Keenum. He played for Vance Joseph and Gary Kubiak in Houston at the beginning of his career (2012-13) and already has a feel for the staff and offensive system. He guided the Vikings to recent success in the playoffs — an experience Cousins still lacks after six years in the NFL. And he comes at a cost that affords the Broncos more flexibility in reshaping their roster and adding to it in the upcoming draft. His new deal is expected to be a shorter-term contract, with approximately $18 million per year in average pay.

“We all understand on how the quarterback position has a direct influence on how your team plays,” Joseph said in February. “Obviously, we have to get better there, whoever is going to be the quarterback. That being said, we can get better in a lot of areas, like protecting the quarterback, continuing to run the football better and to play dominant defense. Having a quarterback that can help us become a more efficient offense and help us score more points and not turn the ball over, that can only help us get better. But we have to focus not only on that, but also on other parts of the football team.”

Within the first 12 hours of the NFL’s legal tampering period Monday, the Broncos held preliminary talks with Cousins but moved in on Keenum and quickly reached an agreement by late that night. No offer was extended to Cousins.

In landing a player they see as their true starter, the Broncos expanded their options with their first-round draft selection this year. Though they could still add a quarterback at No. 5, if they’re not in love with any of the projected first-round quarterbacks, they no longer need to draft one to simply fill a hole. They can select the best player available, add an immediate impact player, or even move out of the top five and acquire more picks in a trade.

“I still think we’re not too far away. Obviously, we have to get better at that (quarterback) position,” general manager John Elway said at the NFL combine. “We didn’t play well there last year. That doesn’t all go on the players. There were some things that we should have done that we should have done differently that we didn’t do. I feel like we can get right back in the thick of the things rather quickly. I think we still have a good defensive football team.”

But Keenum’s arrival means the likely exit of another quarterback on the Broncos’ roster. According to a source, the Broncos are expected to move on from Trevor Siemian, a former seventh-round pick who started 24 games, and have already fielded calls from interested teams.

Since Peyton Manning’s retirement in 2016, the Broncos have featured a revolving door of starting quarterbacks acquired via free agency, a trade and the draft, and none of them have stuck. After reaching the peak of Super Bowl 50 two years ago, the Broncos have sunk on the heels of two playoff-less seasons. The offense, with its rotating cast of quarterbacks, has lacked an identity and consistency that the Broncos have desperately sought to solve to little avail.



Colten Bartholomew is a reporter and columnist for River Valley Media Group. Colten is the college sports coordinator for the La Crosse Tribune.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thanks for reading. Subscribe or log in to continue.