A Denver Broncos quarterback will be replaced this offseason, but, as previously reported, his name isn't Drew Lock.
Piggybacking off a claim that Lock will remain the Broncos' starter for the 2021 season, longtime team insider Woody Paige included a few notable nuggets with his latest reporting: now-former general manager John Elway and head coach Vic Fangio are "pushing for [Lock] to get another year" under new czar George Paton, who's likely to sign his veteran backup.
"Paton knew all about Lock coming out of college. I can tell you frankly he hasn’t studied him since or after he took Broncos job. He will be studying tape when he gets here full time. But Vic and John are pushing for Drew to get another year with a backup veteran free agent," Paige tweeted Sunday.
On its face, there's nothing surprising about the incumbents — Elway and Fangio — aiming to preserve continuity, their wagons hitched to Lock's flickering star. Paton, formerly the Minnesota Vikings' assistant GM, has no loyalty to the 2019 second-round pick and, based on what we know, wields the power to import any QB of his choosing.
But there are lines of thinking to consider, starting with the fact that Paton probably wouldn't have accepted the job — nor referred to Denver as a "sleeping giant" — if he didn't, 1) Understand the preferred arrangement is the status quo, and, 2) See something worth investing into Lock.
Another point to keep in mind? Paton is a big proponent of using the draft, rather than free agency, to construct the nucleus of a team. So it's hard to imagine his first move as Elway's successor being a farm-selling for disgruntled Texan Deshaun Watson. It's also difficult to envision Paton using the Broncos' No. 9 overall selection on a signal-caller, given the glaring needs in the secondary and linebacker corps.
Aggressive, but not reckless.
That mantra in mind, if Paige is hearing correct, Paton should comb the open market for an upgrade on Jeff Driskel, sifting through the likes of Philip Rivers, Mitchell Trubisky, Andy Dalton, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, while enabling Lock to blossom (or bust) in a deciding third year.
Before potentially blowing it all up in 2022.