The Denver Broncos have had their fair share of issues on offense over the last few years, with a lot of them falling on the quarterback position. However, when looking at the consistent issues, it onus falls on the coaching staff for the continued ineptitude with the unit.
Both offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and head coach Vic Fangio could be on their way out of Denver, but could general manager George Paton throw them one last bone that could ultimately save their jobs?
If Paton was inclined to do such a thing, perhaps it would be in procuring the coaches another quarterback to work with. Teddy Bridgewater has made it clear he isn't Denver's long-term answer, though it shouldn't have been questioned in the first place, and the coaches don't trust Drew Lock to be a starter.
When Fangio opted to trot out a 70-75% healthy Bridgewater in Cleveland despite his issues — instead of turning to Lock — that lack of faith was made crystal clear and called into question whether his competition with Bridgewater was ever 'even steven'.
Maybe Paton decides to throw the coaches a potential life preserver with a different quarterback before the trade deadline. Even though the Broncos traded Von Miller, it was a deal the team couldn't pass up especially as a veteran who wasn't expected back in 2022.
The Miller trade doesn't completely rule out the possibility of Denver maneuvering for another quarterback. Looking around the NFL, there are five quarterbacks that could make some sense for the Broncos on the trade market.
Of course, if Denver adds to its QB room, it would likely mean either Bridgewater or Lock gets flipped. That would add to the difficulty of making such hasty changes with the trade deadline being less than 24 hours away on November 2.
Regardless, Denver will be looking for a new quarterback after this season, but making a move now could ease the pressure later.
Russell Wilson | Seattle Seahawks
Wilson has been out after getting injured in Seattle's Week 5 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The Seahawks have gone 1-2 since then, which brings their overall record to 3-5 with a pretty tough schedule remaining. It has been a rough few years for the Seahawks, with the team failing to meet expectations, including this year.
Over the offseason, it was reported Wilson wanted out of Seattle and that he had multiple issues with the team and even the coaching staff. With the Seahawks looking like they're all but out of the playoff race, they could decide to make a move now in hopes that a team like Denver would pay more to turn around their season instead of waiting until 2022.
It would be smart for the Broncos after adding two top-100 draft picks via the Miller-to-L.A. trade to make a move sooner rather than later — for a few reasons.
One of them would be to give Wilson a voice in the hiring process for a new coaching staff. Coaching has been an issue in Seattle, so acquiring him now and giving him a voice in the search for the next head man would prevent that from being an issue in Denver.
With the timing of the hiring process and free agency, the Broncos wouldn't be able to give Wilson that voice without breaking tampering rules if they were to wait to trade for him.
Verdict: This type of move seems unlikely for the Broncos simply because it is doubtful Paton thinks the team can turn it around this year. However, it also wouldn't make sense for the Seahawks as there is a chance they could still push for the playoffs, and Wilson gives them a better opportunity than Geno Smith. This one is unlikely to go down before the trade deadline, but look for it to be broached again in the offseason.
Tyrod Taylor | Houston Texans
Three of the last four teams Taylor has been with have ended up finding their franchise quarterback shortly after acquiring him. The Buffalo Bills got Josh Allen, the Cleveland Browns landed Baker Mayfield, and Los Angeles Chargers somehow scored Justin Herbert. Maybe Taylor is the secret to finding your franchise guy.
All joking aside, Taylor has consistently been a solid starter that works as a bridge to another quarterback. Landing him though would mean Broncos fans could expect another Bridgewater-type pickup. Taylor does a good job protecting the football, shows good placement accuracy, and decision-making with his throws.
Verdict: This wouldn't be much of a step forward but more of a lateral move for the Broncos, giving them another 'safe' option at the quarterback position. Taylor does have a better arm than Bridgewater, which could help open up the offense even more. Taylor also offers up enough as a runner to add another element to the running game.
Mitchell Trubisky | Buffalo Bills
Of the free-agent quarterback options set to hit the market next year, Trubisky will be one of the hotter names. He has a cheap deal and looked poised and ready in the preseason, which could be worth the risk for a team looking for the future at quarterback. If Denver were to trade for him, they would get control over him going forward with franchise tags as options while getting a cheap trial ru.
The question would be what the Bills would want for Chicago's former third overall pick. Odds are, Buffalo would be asking for a lot more than the risk is worth in terms of draft picks. If it isn't a lot, it wouldn't be a bad idea for Denver to take this chance and open the door for a Brian Daboll hiring in the offseason to pair him with Trubisky.
Verdict: It all comes down to what the Bills would want in return for Trubisky. The likelihood of becoming something is slim after his terrible play in Chicago, so you wouldn't want to give up too much. But, again, a short trial on a cheap contract isn't a bad shot to take if the compensation is right.
Marcus Mariota | Las Vegas Raiders
Making a move for Mariota would be similar to Trubisky, with the current Raider expected to be one of the more popular free-agent quarterbacks. However, getting a deal done here would be more difficult for two reasons. The most obvious one is that this would be an in-division trade, but adding to it is Mariota has a no-trade clause.
He has the power to say no to any potential trade, and the Broncos may not be the best suitor with all their questions. Denver could give him a short trial run, like Trubisky, and have options going forward. However, with the coaches likely to be fired and all the heat under Shurmur's seat, why would Mariota want Denver for a trial period?
Verdict: Mariota was former head coach Jon Gruden's guy that many speculated would take over for Derek Carr if he couldn't turn it around, which he has. Maybe that could be enough for Mariota to waive his trade clause, but then again, why would the Raiders risk Denver getting a franchise quarterback? This is just a messy option from top to bottom despite making some sense.
Nick Foles | Chicago Bears
Denver has been linked to Foles for a while, and the reason is apparent. Shurmur had worked with Nick Foles before in Philadelphia when Chip Kelly was the head coach. Though it wasn't entirely his offense with the Eagles, Foles knows what Shurmur likes to do on offense.
Verdict: This would be a move to give Shurmur another quarterback he is familiar with. Foles doesn't offer much more than Bridgewater does but connecting a quarterback with a familiar coach could be the bone Paton decides to give the coaching staff.
It would be unexpected for the Broncos to make a trade for a quarterback, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. Not many would make sense for the Broncos if they wanted to make sweeping changes, but it doesn't seem like they want to make them... yet.
Deserved or not, Bridgewater will likely be the starting quarterback for the Broncos for the rest of the season, barring an injury.
Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel.
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