INDIANAPOLIS — The John Elway we knew as Broncos general manager in 2016, ’17, ’18 and ’19 would not have allowed quarterbacks like Tom Brady or Philip Rivers hit the free-agent market without making a strong push to sign them.
"Yeah, with where we were, sure," Elway said in a sit-down interview Tuesday with 9NEWS.
Come to think of it, the John Elway we knew of 2012 didn’t allow Peyton Manning to hit free agency without a Great Toyota Sequoia Chase. Elway didn’t turn down Manning, even if young QB Tim Tebow was coming off a near miraculous season of 2011.
And so now that the incomparable Brady and oft-brilliant Rivers are about to head an incredibly gifted free-agent class of quarterbacks this year?
"You never say never, but we’re excited about Drew," Elway said.
Elway and head coach Vic Fangio let it be known during their NFL combine press conferences Tuesday that Drew Lock, who just finished his rookie season with a 4-1 record amid some sterling performances, would be their season-opening starting quarterback in 2020.
Can this be true? Lock really precludes a Broncos pursuit of Canton-bound Brady, who turns 43 in August, and likely Hall of Famer Rivers, who turns 39 in December?
"I think so," Fangio said in his sit-down interview with 9NEWS. "You can ask John about it, but we’ve had no talk about it. Yeah, we feel good about Drew. Is he where he needs to be? Can I guarantee he’s going to be the quarterback we want for the next 10, 15 years? Time will tell.
"But we think he did well enough in the last five games and will continue to improve and hopefully he will be our quarterback moving forward."
Elway, who traded up in the second round last year to draft Lock, is only slightly less guarded about Lock’s prospects.
"He's a young guy that finished strong," Elway said. "We liked what we saw in him. Liked how he handled things. He went into a situation that wasn't really a great situation and handled it very, very well. We think he’s talented and think he can do it for a long time. Drew is our plan. … "He gave us all the feeling that he may be the guy who can compete here for a long time."
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