Every member of Broncos Country had the same exact reaction when news broke that the Denver Broncos had traded for Mark Sanchez: “Him??”

Even John Elway had to come out and assure Broncos Country that Sanchez was only the “first step” in a larger process. But should he be?

Again, I’ll admit that the Sanchez trade had me puzzled and disappointed, but the Broncos have been dealt a bad hand. It’s not often that a Super Bowl champion loses their starting quarterback and his heir apparent in the span of a week; that’s a blow that a franchise can’t just overcome.

That’s the type of blow that leaves you scrambling for a guy like Mark Sanchez.

Now, in a perfect world, in a world where the Broncos dominate and go 16-0, is Mark Sanchez their quarterback? Of course not! But the Broncos didn’t bring home a Lombardi Trophy last season because they were living in a perfect world; in fact, they were living in a very, very flawed one.

And it’s because of that fact that I believe the Broncos should move forward with Mark Sanchez as their starting quarterback. Not Colin Kaepernick. Not Ryan Fitzpatrick. Just Sanchez.

The Broncos broke the mold last season; they showed that you can win a championship without even a mid-level quarterback. Who’s to say they can’t do it again? Who’s to say that Sanchez can’t go do the same exact thing Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler did last season?

Actually, why don’t we take a blind look at Osweiler and Sanchez’s last seven starts. You tell me which one you’d rather have?

Player A: 61.57 % completion; 1,980 yards; 10 TDs; 5 INTs; 88.06 QB Rating

Player B: 66.80 % completion; 1,691 yards; 11 TDs; 8 INTs; 89.86 QB Rating

Not much of a difference, is there? Player A is Osweiler and Player B is Sanchez, but for all intents and purposes, they’re the same guy, only Sanchez was quarterbacking an Eagles team that went 2-5 and Osweiler was quarterbacking a Broncos team that went 5-2 (technically, Manning finished out that last win versus San Diego).

Those records don’t tell the whole story, though. In those seven starts, Sanchez’s offenses averaged 23.3 points per game, while Osweiler’s averaged just 21.4; the real difference was their defenses, and that’s why Osweiler’s record looks a whole lot more appealing — and why his contract looks a whole lot more lucrative.

That said, I’m not going to argue that Sanchez has the higher upside — Brock is younger and has a bit more mystery, which teams seem to like — but I’m not going to say that he can’t accomplish what Osweiler did last season, either. I mean, we’ve seen it before … We have literally seen Sanchez lead a team with a stacked defense and a strong rushing attack to the AFC Championship — twice!

There’s no denying that the allure of “The Sanchize” has taken a theme-park-like drop, but if there was ever a situation in which you could envision him having a mediocre, game-manager-like season, it’s this one.

But here’s the kicker: He’s cheap, dirt cheap.

All the Broncos owe Sanchez this season is $4.5 million. That’s cheaper than Chad Henne, Brian Hoyer, Chase Daniel and 27 other quarterbacks in the NFL. That’s just $500,000 more than Britton Colquitt is making!

I know a lot of Broncos fans would be more comfortable — maybe just more excited — to have a guy like Colin Kaepernick or Ryan Fitzpatrick behind center, and maybe they are better options than Sanchez. But are they $10-15 million better? Are they Russell Okung and C.J. Anderson better?

I don’t think so. And I think the only reason Okung and Anderson are on this team right now is because Elway thinks so, too. Based off of reports of Okung’s contract, the Broncos  have roughly $6 million in cap space remaining, though they’ll have another $10-11 million added to the books when they agree to terms on a long-term deal with Von Miller and sign their 2016 draft picks. They’ll recoup some of that money when they inevitably trade or cut Ryan Clady (close to $9 million), but it’s clear that unless Elway has something tricky up his sleeve, they do not have the cap space to bring in another quarterback.

So while the Anderson and Okung signings may have looked puzzling at first, they begin to make a lot more sense if you look at them with the assumption that Mark Sanchez is the Broncos starting quarterback. Instead of using all that valuable cap space on a quarterback like Kaepernick or Fitzpatrick — who, let me remind you, are not without their faults; Kaepernick has been as bad as Sanchez these last two years, and Fitzpatrick is a is a 33-year-old journeyman — they spent it on two players who can actually make life easier on whoever is starting at quarterback next season.

As of today, the job is Sanchez’s, and it’s looking as if it’s going to stay that way.