Mike Hiestand

Broncos Notes: Paradis, Keenum, Foles, Staff

One of the NFL’s top centers over the past four years, Matt Paradis is a month away from free agency. The four-season Broncos starter continues to rehab a broken fibula sustained in November, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets Paradis is ahead of schedule. Prior to going down midway through this season, Paradis had not missed a snap since debuting in the Denver starting lineup at the 2015 season’s outset. He is probably the Broncos’ top in-house priority, with the Bradley RobyShaquil BarrettShane Ray defensive troika likely set to depart. But Paradis is believed to want to test the market rather than re-signing to stay in Denver before hearing other teams’ pitches. If the 29-year-old snapper does hit free agency, there is a reasonable chance he will become the NFL’s highest-paid center. Ryan Jensen, a free agent last year who struggled in 2018, holds that distinction presently with a $10.5MM-per-year deal.

Here is the latest from Denver:

  • Case Keenum‘s first Broncos season did not do much to dispatch the notion his Vikings emergence was a fluke. He finished 31st in Total QBR, 29th in DYAR and 28th in quarterback DVOA. Keenum led the NFL in DVOA in 2017. But the $10MM dead-money hit the Broncos would take if they jettisoned their 2018 starter, coupled with the team’s hope Keenum can improve under new OC Rich Scangarello, points to the 30-year-old passer having a decent chance at sticking around for 2019, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Keenum is on the Broncos’ books at $21MM for next season.
  • John Elway going after another veteran, thus further delaying a long-term plan the Broncos whiffed on with Paxton Lynch, would not be out of character given the GM’s stance on rebuilding. If the Eagles do not follow through on franchise-tagging Nick Foles, whom the Broncos bypassed in the 2012 second round to select Brock Osweiler, Jhabvala can envision Elway considering the Super Bowl LII MVP to replace Keenum. The Broncos would obviously run the risk of gambling on one system-dependent quarterback to potentially doing the same thing a year later, but if they do not have to surrender a third-round pick to the Eagles, it would make more sense than giving up assets and Keenum dead money for Foles. The Jaguars’ situation and John DeFilippo hire make them a more logical Foles destination, but the Broncos hold far more cap space.
  • Denver passed on double-dipping in quarterback investments last year. After signing Keenum, they selected Bradley Chubb over Josh Allen and Josh Rosen. But Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com’s bold prediction is the Broncos both signing a UFA passer and using a high pick to bring in a rookie. This scenario would lead to an astounding number of Broncos quarterback solutions conjured up post-Peyton Manning.
  • The Broncos added a pair of entry-level coaches recently, appointing Justin Rascati and Mike Hiestand to their staff as offensive and defensive quality control coaches, respectively, Jhabvala tweets.