Broncos Country remains on the edge of its seat in anticipation of the Houston Texans finally acquiescing and making disgruntled quarterback Deshaun Watson available via trade. At this point, new Houston GM Nick Caserio has adamantly maintained his position that the Texans aren't interested in trading Watson, even if it means the veteran QB follows through on his threat to sit out the 2021 season.
But it hasn't stopped Vegas from taking bets on Watson's next NFL destination. FanDuel recently installed the Broncos with the best odds at landing the three-time Pro Bowler.
Meanwhile, what does all this media and fan speculation, combined with the overt involvement of new Denver Broncos GM George Paton in the QB trade market, mean for Drew Lock? Lock is coming off a second season in which he started 13 games going 4-9 while completing a paltry 57.3% of his passes on the way to pacing the league in interceptions (tied with Carson Wentz at 15).
For what it's worth, although Lock did throw a lot of picks, his TD-to-INT ratio was still plus-1 at 16-to-15. He finished the season with 2,933 passing yards and chipped in an additional three rushing touchdowns. Lock accounted for 19 total touchdowns while also being responsible for three lost fumbles, bringing is TD-to-Giveaway ratio to 19-to-18 — still plus-1.
Pro Bowl safety Justin Simmons weighed in on the Watson vs. Lock issue last week during a Twitch live stream in which he fielded questions from his audience.
"We've just got to see what happens, man," Simmons said. "I like Drew... I think if anyone adds somebody like Deshaun Watson, you're automatically contenders, right? That dude is a gener[ational]—he is an amazing talent. With that being said, I also love Drew and I think he's going to be great as years go on."
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Lock has been put in a tough situation. It's hard enough to hear, see, read all the speculation in the media and in the fanbase, no doubt, but he's also seen more than one teammate vocally advocate for, and/or openly recruit Watson to Denver.
If Lock has NFL mettle, he'll shrug off all the naysayers and negativity like water off a duck's back. If he's not equal to his opportunity as an NFL QB, it could be an albatross around his neck that drags him down (enough with the bird metaphors).
Only time will tell. For now, though, Watson Watch remains unchanged. Houston has maintained its unwilling position while Lock has generated some buzz for remaining in Denver at Broncos HQ and working hard to attack the offseason early.
The new league year opens on March 17, which is when the free-agent bell will ring, though the legal tampering period opens two days prior. Simmons' fate could be decided by then if the Broncos negotiate a long-term extension ahead of time or franchise tag him for the second-straight year.
Barring either of those possibilities, Simmons will hit the open waters of unrestricted free agency and able to negotiate with outside teams as of March 15. If that happens, the likelihood of the Broncos re-signing him will be slim-to-none.
As for the QB situation, there could be additional context to the Broncos' future soon, even if Watson Watch goes unchanged, if Paton signs a free-agent veteran like an Andy Dalton, Jacoby Brissett, Ryan Fitzpatrick, or Cam Newton. That seems like the most likely course, given the king's ransom Houston will demand if it rolls over and acquiesces to Watson's demands.
If Paton is all about 'draft and develop' and stockpiling draft picks, as he waxed philosophically during his hello-presser back in January, running it back with Lock one more year and keeping all those picks to fill Denver's gaping roster holes, while hoping that back-to-back years in Pat Shurmur's offensive system will pay dividends for Lock, seems like the most likely course of action.
Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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