We have heard what the Broncos’ players and head coach Vic Fangio think about their 3-6 start.
The bye week is for reaching into the Broncos Mailbag and reading what Denver’s followers think.
After the Case Keenum and Joe Flacco flops, perhaps John Elway could benefit from a list of QB’s to avoid. Call it a ‘Do Not Sign’ list. So far, I’ve come up with the following:
Matt Ryan (if he should become available).
If you can think of any others, please chime it. You know, in case he gets the urge.
-- Dennis DeJulio
Dennis – The one and only Philip Rivers is a free agent after this season. He will be 38 next month and from what we saw of his play Thursday night against the Raiders, his prime is behind him.
Your point is well taken, Dennis. Much as Rivers might be tempting, no more stopgaps. The Broncos’ season-opening quarterback in 2020 needs to be Drew Lock. If not, plan B should be a first-round quarterback from the 2020 draft.
But as that would create the argument the Broncos should not have taken the quarterback prospect from Missouri with the No. 41 overall pick in the second round of the 2019 draft, Lock needs to be the answer.
Because of Lock’s thumb injury, he has not yet been deemed ready to play in this, his rookie season. I do think he will start in the final two games, against the Lions and Raiders, with both to be played at Empower Field at Mile High.
There’s a chance Lock starts before the final two games. But two games is enough for John Elway and Vic Fangio to determine whether to go forward with their Lock-maybe Brandon Allen-Brett Rypien quarterback team.
The Kansas City Chiefs needed just one meaningless season finale against the Broncos in 2017 to determine Patrick Mahomes II was ready and veteran Alex Smith was expendable.
Brandon Allen can continue to play his way into the Broncos’ future in the next two to five games, but he is a free agent after this season and all parties would have to agree on some sort of make-good contract.
If those final two games leave Elway-Fangio believing Lock needs more development from the sidelines in year two, then the Broncos have to use their first-round draft pick in 2020 on a quarterback. The potential first-round quarterbacks: Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jacob Fromm and Jacob Eason.
The solution cannot be another veteran rehab project, not even Rivers. Been there in back-to-back years. Done that.
Mike, what are the 2020 cap ramifications, if Joe Flacco retires, since they restructured his contract?
-- Todd Allerdings
Todd – The same as if Flacco was released. He would have a dead-cap hit of $13.6 million in 2020.
More importantly, the Broncos would owe him $0 in cash. Salary cap figures can be legally manipulated. Cash budgets are the key and the Broncos will have an early estimate of $60 million to $65 million to spend in 2020.
The key, of course, is spending it more wisely than they did this past offseason, when they have so far got virtually nothing out of the $26 million they invested in 2019 cash in Ja’Wuan James, Bryce Callahan and Theo Riddick.
Hi Mike, our Bronco gang is wondering about an apparent snub of Ed McCaffrey. He is not in the Ring of Fame despite being on back-to-back Super Bowl teams (in 1997-98), and has not been featured at the Broncos alumni games, or 'shout outs', etc. What's up with this? Did he tick someone off? I mean John Lynch is in the Ring of Fame.
-- Sean S Middleswart, Aurora
Sean – No snub. The reason why Eddie Mac has not been featured when the Broncos honor their alumni is he and wife Lisa are busy flying across the country on Saturdays and Sunday.
Saturdays to watch their son Luke at Nebraska, where he was 5 of 6 passing for 71 yards and a touchdown as a backup quarterback in a 38-31 loss to Indiana on October 26, or son Dylan at Michigan, where he is 10 of 20 for 116 yards and a touchdown as a backup quarterback.
And Sundays to watch son Christian dominate as a Carolina Panthers’ running back, where he is on pace for 1,762 yards rushing, 726 yards receiving and 26 touchdowns.
The rest of the week is dedicated to Valor Christian High School.
As for McCaffrey’s Ring of Fame chances, he is brought up as a worthy candidate by the committee from time to time. He did have three consecutive ROF-caliber seasons from 1998-2000, when he averaged 79 catches, 1,129 yards and 9 touchdowns.
But then came the gruesome leg injury in the 2001 opener and his inspirational comeback in 2002 when he had 69 receptions for 903 yards.
He is clearly the most fan-popular of the Broncos’ Ring of Fame candidates. I would have no problem with McCaffrey getting elected, although I would have coach Mike Shanahan, tight end Riley Odoms, cornerback Steve Foley and maybe even receiver Steve Watson ranked ahead of him. (Watson was a true No. 1 receiver who ranked third in the NFL in receiving yards in the five-year period from 1981-85. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers’ Steve Largent and James Lofton had more in that span.)
There is also the Rubin Carter/Barney Chavous defensive line combo from the Orange Crush era. So while McCaffrey is deserving of Broncos’ immortality – the success of his sons (including Max, who played receiver at Duke) should give dad extra credit as his boys are all local success stories – he’s not the only one.
Lynch is oft-cited as the least-deserving of the Broncos’ ROF members but in his defense, he did have four Pro Bowls in his four seasons in Denver.
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