The Drew Lock days are over in Broncos Country.


Lock has always benefitted from a crazed fanbase, and surprisingly there are some on social media calling for his return to the Mile High City.

Drew Lock back to the Denver Broncos?

Russell Wilson is all but gone from Denver. The Broncos benched him with two games to go, and then when news broke that Sean Payton and the team asked Wilson to change his injury guarantee, Payton was called a bully.

That means there’s no certainty in terms of who will play quarterback for Denver in 2024.

Simply, Denver Broncos fans are quarterback desperate. Just like they were when Lock was still on the team. They’re desperate for someone, anyone, to become “the guy.”

Broncos Country needs a true franchise quarterback. Payton needs one, too.

Not only is it the most important position in American sports, but Denver enjoyed superstar quarterbacks John Elway and Peyton Manning. Since Manning? A ton of mediocre, stop-gap, bridge quarterbacks.

Broncos fans have been spoiled with superstar QB play. And the longer the mediocre play has gone on, the more desperate Denver fans have become.

But being quarterback desperate is why Lock got to start at all. There weren’t guys good enough to beat him out of the job. Well, except Teddy Bridgewater. And Joe Flacco.

Lock fans blamed coaches, teammates, anyone they could before blaming Lock for his inconsistent play.

In Denver, when he was on, Lock was phenomenal. He made plays with his legs and arm, connecting with teammates in the short, medium, and deep passing game. The problem?

Those great games only came around 20-25% of the time. In about 50% of his starts with the Broncos, Lock was merely mediocre. And another 25% of the time he was flat-out bad. Just awful.

A team can’t win with a quarterback who plays that inconsistently.

Lock got his shot as the team’s full-time starter in 2020, the COVID year, in which he missed games due to violating COVID protocol. That showed a lack of leadership. That year, he started 13 games, had a 57.3 completion percentage, with 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He was also 41st in EPA/drop back, with a -0.03.

He got three more starts in 2021, with one better than average performance, and two more mediocre ones, and an EPA/drop back of -0.02.

Lock’s downfall in Denver was his overconfidence in arm strength, repeatedly forcing the ball into tight coverage. Many times, those passes would be defended or picked off.

Since 2022, the Russell Wilson trade sent him to Seattle, where he’s been backing up Geno Smith.

When Smith went down this year, Lock filled in Weeks 14 and 15, playing well and even leading the Seahawks to a win over the Eagles. Maybe that win is why we’re hearing his name as the next possible QB from desperate fans.

If the Broncos were to bring him back, he likely would come relatively cheap. The Seahawks gave him a one-year deal in 2023 for only $3.6 million. But, does Payton want to work with a guy who is looking a lot like a career backup? It doesn’t seem likely.

In this informal poll, 58% of voters said the Broncos shouldn’t bring him back. (Go vote!)

What could Denver’s QB room look like in 2024?

So, Drew Lock is likely off the table as the next Broncos QB.

But, where does that leave the Broncos?

First and foremost, Jarrett Stidham has a real shot at being the starter this year. The Broncos sat Wilson and gave him the final two games of the year, and Stidham’s performances were quite similar to Wilson’s. Was he great? No, but Payton liked him coming out of college and Denver has him under contract for $7 million in 2024, too.

What about other veteran free agents? That’s certainly a possibility, as long as they don’t cost too much.

Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill is one interesting name. He’s under contract with the Titans for $9.2 million, and he may be too pricey for Denver. The Broncos are already $24 million over the cap, but there are ways they can trim some of the fat.

A few more possibilities include Jameis Winston due to his Saints connections, Sam Darnold, and Jimmy Garoppolo.

Winston is a nine-year professional but has only started nine games over the last four seasons. And none in 2023. Darnold is in his sixth year in the NFL and first with the San Francisco 49ers, where he started one game for them. He played quite well despite the 49ers loss to the Rams in the season finale.

And Garoppolo is in his 10th year, bouncing from New England to San Francisco and played this year in Las Vegas. He was the Raiders’ starter but was benched after six starts in favor of rookie Aidan O’Connell.

Darnold was taken No. 3 overall and has never lived up to the billing. And Garoppolo exceeded expectations, for a time. In 2019, he went 13-3 as the Niners’ starter, helping lead them to the Super Bowl, where he threw two interceptions in the loss. That was four years ago, though.

Jimmy G. is still under contract from the Raiders and would be a $28 million dead cap hit for Las Vegas if he was cut. So, the Broncos would likely have to trade for him.

What about rookies?

Denver could draft a quarterback and No. 12 overall, but they also have multiple other positions of need they could use the pick on. If they do go QB, players like Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr., and J.J. McCarthy could be there at 12.

While fans love what they saw out of Penix during bowl season, the other two quarterbacks are listed hire by multiple people in front offices per Ben Allbright.

So, it’s possible Denver goes into 2024 with Stidham and a rookie, Stidham and a veteran, or all three.

Broncos fans just have to hope the QB room doesn’t include Drew Lock.