If John Elway wants to lead the pack, Case Keenum and Paxton Lynch may be the right combo for Denver.

With Gary Kubiak back in the Broncos fold and Mike Klis pointing out the ex-HC’s connection to Case Keenum, he could be a reality for the Denver Broncos in the upcoming free agency period. He’s not the flashy pick many want in Kirk Cousins, but he’s a good compromise. Going this pair also puts Elway in the driver’s seat.

Instead of waiting around for a quarterback who’s not elite to grace him with a visit, he quietly lands the other fish without any public begging.  He let’s his players drive up the cost on Cousins, which stunts those teams in the race for him, and he walks away with the best bang-for-the-buck guy.

Elway also doesn’t hang his hat on scooping up what the teams above him pick over. He drafts a play-maker who is ready week one. Or, he trades back to a team and gets even more draft capital. In essence, he can do what he wants, because he’s not beholden to getting a QB who won’t be in a winning position for a year or two.

Slice it any way you want, but this franchise is in transition and isn’t winning, now, unless maybe Drew Brees walks through the door. He’s the lone Free Agent equivilent to Peyton Manning. And Manning didn’t walk into a team with new coaches off a 5-11 season. The team he took over, won a P.O. game the year before.

With his 18M or so price tag, Keenum is a 10M savings that would allow them to sign two or three pricey FAs and fill more holes. He’d bring a veteran presence to the locker room and give Joseph and Kubiak a quarterback they feel comfortable with.

Fans won’t go out in droves buying his jersey, but they won’t be burning down Dove Valley, either. As far as selling suites and naming rights, he’s a nice guy who did just go to the NFCCG. He’s the same age as Cousins, he only threw 7 interceptions and he’s the safe guy the front office must like.

Keenum also makes sense because I doubt Cousins chooses the Broncos. Denver has a lot of holes, and based on rumblings of them trying to shop out CJ and several defensive players, no QB knows what exactly he’s walking into. Heck, Case may even balk.

Add in new coaches and Denver being expensive, we’re not as attractive as, say, Minnesota or tax free Arizona. Plus, paying 27-30 for a QB says, win now. Bring home the trophy now. That price tag gives zero excuses. Regardless of the reasons, Cousins has won, 9, 8 and 7 games his last three seasons, and has no playoff wins. He’s going to need to make a big jump up or he’ll be seen as a waste. We all know Broncos Country patience level on QBs.

Cousins would like to win, receive a hunk of money and get respect. That’s every QB, but Elway isn’t going to pay top dollar and hurt his defense, especially after seeing Keenum, Bortles and Foles just win PO games. As far as winning, the four teams in the final four were balanced and with great coaching. Coaching staffs with barely any changes from the year before. And while the SB was dominated by offense, it was two defensive moves that won: the strip sack and knocking the ball out of Gronk’s hands on the Hail Mary.

Finally, there’s respect. Redskins fans think he didn’t get it in Washington. Well, he’ll only get it in the Rocky Mountains if he wins all the time and doesn’t stumble. There was a time that Denver fans boo’d Peyton Manning for faltering. No one is safe.

If Cousins is paid what experts think, he’d be the highest salaried player in Denver’s history. That is a lot of pressure to win rings, now and from now on.

And the players, don’t count on them, when it comes to having your back. The Broncos have three quarterbacks under contract, and since week 12 or so, some have been pining for others. Making public pitches for them. Not calling or texting, but going on national TV recruiting them to Denver.

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Von Miller maybe forgot about the defense being the driving factor in making Siemian a Captain two years in a row. If you want to promote respect, begging for Cousins while your team captain, that you said you’d have his back, is still on the team, doesn’t really say that to me. Doubtful it says that to Kirk or any QB for that matter.

As for Paxton Lynch, Denver needs a second quarterback anyway, and Elway isn’t going to get a first round pick for him or sign another QB who knows the system any cheaper.

Lynch has a connection with Musgrave, plus several players. He knows the playbook and scheme. While in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, I spoke with several members of the Broncos organization and while Lynch was not the topic of conversation, his name came up and trust me, they like him.

Like him enough to be the starter? I don’t know and didn’t ask, but was told selling him to the fans was an issue. The solution for a guy they like, but is seen in a negative light, could be another competition. He “wins”, they’ve got a decision to make, but a good one with options. He doesn’t, they’ve got a back-up. No losing scenario.

He saves them time and money, he gets more experience, and maybe earns the respect of the players and media. If Keenum were to become injured, they have a quarterback who’s ready to step in; ultimately, he helps keep some continuity.

Kubiak gets his guy, Elway keeps his, and both work together. The team gets a vet, plus more weapons by not spending the money on expensive quarterbacks. While most fans won’t be jumping for joy, they won’t be crying in their Coors, either.

At the end of the day, it’s about winning. Keenum has play off wins, the team is in transition and a rookie won’t win with a team undergoing so much change. The duo of Keenum and Lynch could give them the best of all worlds. The vet the fans and players want, money to fix more holes, time for a young QB to grow and draft spots to fix the team. A win-win and Elway is still seen as the Alpha dog, not the guy at the whim of other teams on what to do about his franchise.

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