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Broncos Face Complex Decision at Quarterback if Teddy Bridgewater Succeeds in 2021

If Teddy Bridgewater leads the Broncos to success, what happens in 2022 when he becomes a free agent?

It was a great showing from Teddy Bridgewater in his first start for the Denver Broncos. He played extremely well vs. the New York Giants and kept making plays, staying poised in the pocket, even when the pressure came. This led to a big 27-13 win for the Broncos. 

By no means was it a perfect performance by Bridgewater. Expecting such will always leave you disappointed. Nevertheless, the veteran quarterback passed for 264 yards completing 28-of-36 attempts with two touchdowns. He never turned the ball over, and the issues he did show were few and far between.

There was one play where Bridgewater underthrew an open receiver, while another saw him hold onto the ball a fraction of a second too long. However, this is the type of game you take with relish from your starting quarterback, especially in a road victory. 

However, there is a question that the Broncos will have to face when this season is over. If Bridgewater goes on to produce an impressive season, setting multiple career benchmarks and leading the Broncos to the playoffs, what will the team do with him? 

Bridgewater will be a free agent in January, so if he leads the Broncos to pay-dirt, would GM George Paton extend him to provide him more time, target another veteran, or look to the NFL draft? 

This is a question full of 'what ifs,' as the Broncos are only one game into the 2021 season. Yet, it's a question the team brass has to be asking themselves with each passing game. However, it might not present a clear answer until the season is officially in the books.

Committing to Bridgewater would be risky because of his medical history. If he can play a full season, and do so at a high level without missing time, then Paton would perhaps be more willing to stick with him beyond this year. 

NFL history is littered with fool's gold quarterbacks who produce one season of wonder, which leads a team to throw in big dollars and commit, only to fail to replicate that success beyond the point of no return. Heck, the Broncos themselves have been victims of this ethos. 

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It wasn't all that long ago that Case Keenum produced such a season for the Minnesota Vikings, leading then-GM John Elway to roll out the Brinks truck and pay him big dollars. The Broncos' 6-10 finish in 2018 is the pudding that proves committing to a one-year-wonder can be treacherous. 

Teddy succeeding in Denver wouldn't quite be an apples-to-apples comparison with Keenum because the Broncos had to hope Keenum's success in Minnesota would translate to their team, scheme, and culture. If Bridgewater succeeds, that won't be in question. What would be is, again, is relative age (29 in November) and injury history. 

These questions come with so many variables that Denver can only consider each possibility as the season marches on. All that can be done right now is to celebrate that dominant win over the Giants and get ready for the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

If the past five years of post-Super Bowl 50 depredations have taught the Broncos anything, it's this: keep the focus on the next game. 

The Bridgewater question still has 17 weeks before any possible answer becomes clear. Until then, Broncos Country, enjoy the ride. 

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