As teams in similar positions added quarterbacks in free agency or via trade, the Broncos have stood pat. They are planning to acquire a veteran quarterback, but Sam Darnold might not be on GM George Paton‘s radar.
The Broncos have not expressed interest in the Jets passer this offseason, at least not at the price the Jets may be seeking, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. While rumors of the Jets being able to fetch a first-round pick for Darnold have not surfaced in months, a second-rounder may be in play. The Broncos, however, are not believed to view Darnold as enough of an upgrade to part with a Round 2 pick, Renck adds. With the Broncos holding a high second-round pick (No. 40), it makes sense they would not part with that choice in such a trade.
Going into the 2018 draft, previous Broncos GM John Elway was interested in Darnold. However, the Broncos did not trade up from their No. 5 overall pick (Bradley Chubb) and saw the Jets draft the USC product. The team had then just signed Case Keenum, who became the fourth quarterback to start for Denver since Peyton Manning‘s retirement. The Broncos have now started 10 QBs over the past five seasons.
Drew Lock remains in line to start for the Broncos. He ranked 29th in QBR last season and led the NFL in interceptions, throwing 15 picks despite missing three games and much of Week 2. Darnold, however, ranked last (33rd) among qualified quarterbacks in QBR in 2020.
The Broncos made an offer for Matthew Stafford, but it was not on the level of the Panthers or Washington’s bids, and were planning to pursue Deshaun Watson — prior to the quarterback’s off-field issues surfacing. Paton indicated trades would be an option for the team. Gardner Minshew has drawn trade interest, and Nick Foles would seemingly be another option as a veteran who could join Lock. The 49ers have insisted they have Jimmy Garoppolo in their 2021 plans, though their trade to No. 3 overall could point Garoppolo elsewhere.
While the Jets’ plans are not known, they are currently expected to select Zach Wilson at No. 2 overall. With the Jets set to either trade Darnold or that pick, the Broncos loom as an obvious candidate to acquire the three-year veteran. But they may not take that route.
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