Simultaneously, it looks like the Denver Broncos experiments with Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock will end this Saturday.
Of course, Lock could be kept on the team in 2022 — he’s still on his rookie deal — but it seems the ship has sailed in terms of him being the next captain of the offense for the long term.
Similarly, Bridgewater will be looking for a new team next year in all likelihood after a decent, but not great season in Denver. After his horrific concussion, Bridgewater’s missed the last two games and was placed on the Injured Reserve this week. But, he told the media he will be looking to play next year, somewhere.
So, where will the Broncos turn?
Hopes are a mile high that Denver will lure Aaron Rodgers to the Centennial State. Or, could it be Russell Wilson? And if not those two, would the Broncos benefit from acquiring say Matt Ryan, Deshaun Watson or trading for Baker Mayfield?
Let’s look at some updates on these QBs and what their 2022 plans could be.
Rodgers has certainly brought a lot of attention on himself over the last year or so, and especially the last few months. His weekly appearances on the Pat McAfee Show have garnered much attention for his COVID misinformation and for the star quarterback admitting he’s not vaccinated.
But beyond that — and his “COVID toe” as he quipped — Rodgers has been balling out this year. Following his MVP 2020 campaign, Rodgers has tossed 35 touchdowns compared to a mere four interceptions; his 0.8 TD-to-INT ratio is by far the NFL-best. As is his QBR, or Quarterback Rating by ESPN, which brings in all sorts of factors to spit out a 0-100 rating.
Because of those shockingly great numbers and the experience of being 38 years old with one Super Bowl under his belt, he’s the most desired QB out there by Broncos fans.
And while he had a rocky relationship with his front office last year, Rodgers recently said, “The organization and I, the conversations we’ve had, we’re in a way different place than we’ve ever been and I’m really appreciative of Brian (Gutekunst). For him and I, both, coming together and finding common ground and having great conversations and Russ (Ball) and Mark (Murphy) — it’s been a really enjoyable year from that standpoint”, Rodgers expressed on ‘The Adam Schein Podcast’.”
That makes it sound like Rodgers is staying in Green Bay, although he’s also said he could retire after this year.
Wilson is similar to Rodgers in many ways. He’s a superstar and has the experience of winning a Super Bowl. However, Wilson is much younger (currently 33) and seemingly has more left in the tank than does Rodgers.
That comes with the caveat that Wilson was injured this year and placed on the IR before pushing to come back early, after only missing four games. He hasn’t been the same player since the ankle injury, but there’s no real concern he couldn’t become that superstar once again.
And while Wilson’s future has been in talks since last offseason, he sounds much like Rodgers in terms of wanting to stay with his current and only NFL franchise, the Seahawks.
“My goal is to win more Super Bowls,” Wilson said, “and my plan is to win one here. It’s that simple.”
Watson’s been a toxic name in the NFL since over 20 women have come forward alleging sexual assault by the Texans quarterback.
But as this 2021 season winds down, the trade market for Watson seems to be heating up. He will have to settle those lawsuits, but if and when he does, the blossoming superstar will find a new home in the NFL.
And the Houston Chronicle names the Broncos as one of the potential suitors, among the Dolphins, Panthers and many more teams. Last offseason, before all the sexual assault allegations, teams offered multiple first-round picks and later picks, too for Watson. So, if he clears his name, the potential new suitors would have to pay a King’s ransom for him but the same is probably true of Rodgers and Wilson as well.
Mayfield, too, would have to be traded for. But the asking price seemingly would be much less for him compared to the other three listed here.
While he was a highly-touted star in college, his game hasn’t completely translated to the NFL. Since his rookie year in 2018, Mayfield leads the league in interceptions thrown with 56, which is basically one per start (59). The knock on Lock is he’s too turnover prone; could Mayfield right the ship and stop turning it over so much in Denver?
If the Falcons want to cut the 37-year old, they’d likely have to wait until after the June deadline, but would still lose $8 million in dead money. So, it’s possible he could be traded, and for a bargain compared to Rodgers and Wilson. But would Denver want him?
And as far as free agents are concerned, the names aren’t great. Ryan Fitzpatrick (39), Nick Foles (33) and Andy Dalton (34) are among the best out there heading into 2022.
So, who will Denver’s quarterback be in 2022? If they don’t draft one, it’s hard to see a perfect fit in terms of the many veterans that could be traded for or picked up in free agency.