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It will come down to this: Why should Kirk Cousins come play for the Broncos?

The Broncos task: convince Cousins he can play a major role in lifting a 5-11 team to the Super Bowl.
Kirk Cousins at Super Bowl LII (Photo: Mike Klis)

ENGLEWOOD—Kirk Cousins, let’s say, decides to slow play his decision and heads out on a visit tour of interested NFL cities when free agency opens March 14.

Tell us, Vance Joseph, why Cousins should come play for the Denver Broncos?

“I won’t talk to Kirk because he is under contract,’’ the rules-conscious Broncos head coach said in an interview with 9News on Wednesday. “We can’t talk to those guys.

“But speaking to any free agent that can help our football team, this is a good place to play football. We have a great fan base. I think our football team is really close.

“Like most football teams after you don’t have a year that you want to have, you have to go back and you have to do a self-evaluation. Every team has issues, every team has holes. Our goal this offseason is to fix our holes. Because, I think we’re really close as a football team.’’

Peyton Manning visited Denver, Arizona and Tennessee before choosing the Broncos in 2012. Brock Osweiler had not met with Houston head coach Bill O’Brien before deciding in the initial hours of free agency on March 9, 2016, to become a Texan.

Cousins is still working through whether he wants to go on a visit tour or, because he could help recruit other free agent players to his team, make up his mind by the time free agency opens at 2 p.m. March 14.

This year, providing Drew Brees re-signs with the New Orleans Saints and Washington doesn’t pull any franchise-tag tomfoolery, Cousins will be the top quarterback available in free agency. Minnesota’s Case Keenum and Cincinnati’s AJ McCarron would be the next-best available quarterbacks.

After the Broncos finished 5-11 last season – the first losing record in general manager John Elway’s seven-year regime – this a team with many needs. And a team with but one.

“That’s pretty simple,’’ defensive end Derek Wolfe said when asked what he’d like to see the Broncos’ front office do this offseason. “We need a great quarterback here. We need a great quarterback who knows how to lead on the offensive side of the ball. Not that we don’t have leaders over there but the quarterback runs the show. So he’s got to be a vocal leader. He’s got to be ready to come in and win.

There’s no time to mess around. We have some great players on defense and we have some even better players on offense. So if we can get that one piece that we’re missing and come together as a team, get our leadership going, we’re going to be all right.’’

The Philadelphia Eagles just gave the Broncos hope they may not be as far away from winning a championship as people think. The Eagles had come off back-to-back losing seasons before suddenly putting it all together to win Super Bowl 52 earlier this month.

“I think every team in this league is close,’’ Joseph said. “Obviously, certain teams have certain special players that make their team’s different.’’

The Broncos are expected to bid on one particular special player in Cousins. They have the financial wherewithal to get in the game. Their task can be simply stated but difficult to execute: Convince Cousins he can play a major role in lifting a 5-11 team to the Super Bowl.

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