Come tomorrow afternoon, Case Keenum will be the new face of the Denver Broncos. According to Mike Klis of 9news, the deal is expected to be a 2 year contract for at least $36 million. This is the first big domino to fall with the official start of free agency just around the corner.
Breakdown: Keenum went 11-3 in 14 regular season starts and took the Vikings to an NFC championship game in 2017. In those 14 starts Keenum threw for 3,547 yards with 22 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. His last season as a starter was in 2013 when Gary Kubiak was the Head Coach of the Houston Texans. Keenum started 8 games that season with 1,760 yards passing along side 9 touchdowns and 6 picks.
What this means: The Broncos get an immediate upgrade at the QB position while allowing flexibility to draft a franchise quarterback with the #5 pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Two years, $36 mil is a steal of a deal for both parties. Denver gets a quick out if Keenum shows he was a one year wonder in Minnesota, and Keenum gets to prove he is an above-average starter with a chance to cash in again in the 2020 free agency.
This probably spells the end of Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler in Denver. Siemian has one year left on his deal but the Broncos have been rumored to trade Siemian this offseason. In Siemian’s two years as a starter he posted 30 TDs and 24 INTs, but was often injured and the offense stalled in the red zone. As for Lynch, I believe it’s doubtful the team views him as the #2 option behind Keenum so I fully expect them to draft a QB early in the draft, potentially Baker Mayfield. Adding Mayfield would provide the Broncos a long term solution and allow for him to be groomed behind Keenum for a season before taking the reigns in 2019.
2018 Prediction: Adding Keenum provides stability at a position that was among the NFL’s worst groups last season. It’ll be interesting to see what other moves the Broncos make as they still are a few pieces away from being a playoff team once again. Keenum isn’t going to make the team title contenders until Denver adds another guard, a starting right tackle, upgrades the d-line, and adds a few more play makers to the offensive mix. This signing does however move the needle in the right direction. My prediction with this move right now? Denver goes 9-7 and has a chance at the AFC West title with the Chiefs taking a step back and the Raiders and Chargers well…under performing as always.
Stay tuned for my next post as I will be following and reacting to the Broncos offseason moves.