Michael Lombardi, a long-time Bill Belichick assistant and former Cleveland Browns general manager and V.P., just set the interwebs abuzz when he told Pat McAfee that the Denver Broncos were close to trading for a quarterback last week. Who that quarterback was, Lombardi doesn't know.
"I thought there was some action on—Denver was going to trade for a quarterback that I think that—whether it was [Carson] Wentz—they say they're not interested in Wentz, whether it was somebody—I don't know quite who it was," Lombardi told The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday. "But they were in position to trade for somebody and it just didn't go through. So I think my point here is, San Francisco and Denver are both secretly active looking for a quarterback."
It makes sense based on what we know about new GM George Paton, who was aggressive (but not reckless) in pursuit of Matthew Stafford before the veteran QB was dealt to the Los Angeles Rams for a king's ransom. Paton's Broncos appear to be intent on solving the quarterback position now, instead of waiting to hope that Drew Lock will develop, or even a first-round quarterback.
Paton has made overtures on the Deshaun Watson situation and has been given 'assurances' that if the Houston Texans acquiesce to trading the disgruntled QB, the Broncos are a destination he'd consider. There were completely unfounded rumors over the weekend tying Carson Wentz to the Broncos, but they've been tamped down by every bonafide insider in Denver.
Lombardi went on to report that the Broncos are out of patience with regard to Lock.
"Denver is a quarterback away from being a really good team if they could ever get the quarterback situation," Lombardi told Pat McAfee. "They've been rumored to be talking to a lot of teams about quarterbacks. I thought they were going to make a trade last week for a quarterback and one of the teams backed out—I don't know quite how that happened. I think the Broncos will be very aggressive. I think the whole conversation about Drew Lock being the guy is over."
This is the first report we've heard that would indicate the Broncos have dismissed the possibility of Lock becoming the guy. Paton said during his introductory presser that he likes Lock's tools but that he needs to "develop."
NFL teams tell you how they really feel by what they do, though, not what they say. What Paton's Broncos have done is aggressively pursue every QB opportunity thus far in the 2021 offseason.
That alone, regardless of whether one is inclined to take Lombardi's Lock comment at face value, at least implies that the Broncos are hell-bent on winning now. Not in 2022. In 2021, which could be Vic Fangio's last year if the Broncos fail to reach .500 again.
My own take is this, based on everything I've heard and been told; the Broncos still very much believe Lock has it in him to turn the corner. Now, it's just a matter of deciding how much longer the team is willing to risk waiting to see that happen on the field.
Five straight years of missing the playoffs has put Paton and Fangio in an unenviable position of having to get results now. Maybe Lock ends up being the best option to provide those results. Maybe not. We'll probably know soon enough.
Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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