The Denver Broncos just hired a new general manager on Wednesday. Former Minnesota Vikings assistant GM George Paton will succeed John Elway at GM.
Even before Elway relinquished GM duties, speculation ran rampant on what the future held for quarterback Drew Lock and whether the Broncos would give him one more year as the 'understood' starter. Once the Broncos started on the trail of pursuing Paton, rumors have abounded that the new GM could look to land a 'top-tier' QB, whether via free agency, the trade market, or the NFL draft.
The Broncos currently hold the No. 9 overall pick in the draft, which puts them at least within striking distance of possibly landing one of the top QBs in the 2021 class. On Saturday, The Colorado Springs Gazette's Woody Paige published a column addressing the Broncos' future of the quarterback position, and in anticipation of it hitting the press, he tweeted the following take on Twitter.
"Just finished column addressing many Broncos points. Drew Lock will be QB," Paige tweeted.
Paige is a long-time Broncos insider and has covered the team in one capacity or another for decades. The man is plugged in. It's likely his view of Lock is educated but it's just one man's take.
Paige's considered read on the situation is that Lock will get 2021. However, if that's how it shakes out, don't expect the Broncos to hold serve at quarterback. Paton will tinker but first, he's already said he's going to turn over every stone in an effort to upgrade the roster and be a part of "every deal."
That could include a more proven veteran to be signed in free agency who can both push and mentor Lock while providing the Broncos a more reliable option than, say, Jeff Driskel.
Lock is coming off a very up-and-down second year in which he started 13 games going 4-9 while passing for 2,933 yards and 16 touchdowns with 15 interceptions. He completed a paltry 57.3% of his passes (among the league's worst) but he did also throw in three rushing touchdowns.
There are several metrics placing Lock in the bottom-5 of NFL starting quarterbacks but at the same time, there were multiple outlying factors that contributed to his less-than-stellar second year, including an injury to his throwing shoulder, the loss of his No. 1 receiver Courtland Sutton for almost the entire season, and, of course, the pandemic robbing him of precious offseason and preseason reps as he assimilated yet another brand-new playbook.
The jury is still very much out on Lock but he's shown some flashes worthy of writing home about, including his Week 14 performance vs. the Carolina Panthers in which he tossed four touchdowns on his way to 280 yards passing. As rocky as things got for Lock at times in 2020, his performance improved dramatically from Week 11 on.
Maybe that's what Paton ultimately latches onto, or maybe the new GM would rather spend his free-agent and draft capital on other roster holes. Only time will tell but it would make sense to give the Lock era one last season to lift off especially because it coincides with Vic Fangio's mandate to win or go home.
But this won't be the last Broncos-related QB rumor or insider report on the subject. It's a long row to hoe between now and April's draft.