Whither Aaron Rodgers: An early look at the Broncos
And it ain’t pretty
Welcome to Colorado, which is known for its mountains, the availability of cannabis and too many Californians moving in as well.
Once such Californian/Wisconsinite is Aaron Rodgers. Of course, we’ve been reading for weeks/years that he’s been disenchanted with the Green Bay Packers and wants to play elsewhere. Since Colorado, or more specifically the Denver Broncos can’t grow their own quarterback — apparently not since 1983 when they got the original Californian to relocate to Colorado — the local NFL team seems to be a fit, at least as far as speculation goes.
Since the Broncos only win with ancient quarterbacks — John Elway was no spring chicken — why not consider it?
This is not Peyton Manning
Peyton Effing Manning, as Broncos fans fondly refer to him, was a free-agent signing. The Colts thought he was done — neck injury — released him and picked Andrew Luck in the draft.
Were Rodgers to come to Denver, this is going to be a trade, an important element people are forgetting. What do the Broncos give and what do they have to give?
Rodgers may want out of Green Bay, and the Pack may be moving on to Jordan Love, but it’s going to want a lot for its current QB. Are we talking two first rounders? Three? Do the Broncos mortgage their future for Rodgers?
Or is it a combination of picks and players? If we’re talking players, wouldn’t Green Bay want wide receivers and running backs because it’s surrounding Love with talent. If so, aren’t the Broncos just trading away the supporting cast, whose absence in Wisconsin is the reason for Rodgers’ trade demand?
Please also remember that the Broncos aren’t where they were when Manning signed before the 2012 season. In 2011, the Broncos were average, 8-8, but it was good enough to win the AFC West. While the Broncos had amusing time of it that year at quarterback with Tim Tebow, future Jacksonville tight-end legend, there was a lot of young talent on the team.
Whether that talent is present and ready to bloom just as it did for Manning if Rodgers comes to town is debatable. What is not debatable is that the division has changed. Unless Patrick Mahomes is struck by lightning, it takes 12-4 — or is it 13-4 with 17 games? — to win the division. Since winning Super Bowl 50, the Broncos have been 9-7, 5-11, 6-10, 7-9 and 5-11.
Since it came out on Wednesday with all the hype that only the NFL can provide in May, let’s do the Broncos schedule without Rodgers:
- At N.Y. Giants: Loss – Simply because the Broncos start with two on the road and they’re not going 2-0.
- At Jacksonville: Win – Don’t forget to cover the tight end.
- N.Y. Jets: Win – Thanks to the schedule, the Broncos are over .500.
- Baltimore: Loss – Are you kidding?
- At Pittsburgh: Loss – Oy vey.
- Las Vegas: Loss – This still looks weird. Even the Raiders sort of have a QB.
- At Cleveland: Loss – Team Dysfunction has a freaking quarterback.
- Washington: Loss – The Football Team did win the NFC East last year.
- At Dallas: Win – I hate the Cowboys. Plus, the Broncos might win just one of the five in row they’ve lost.
- Philadelphia: Loss – The Broncos play the NFC East this year and it doesn’t seem to help.
- L.A. Chargers: Loss – Justin Herbert. Nope.
- At Kansas City: Loss – Ouch.
- Detroit: Win – It’s Detroit and it’s not Thanksgiving.
- Cincinnati: Win – A meaningless two-game winning streak robs the Broncos of prime draft position.
- At Las Vegas: Loss – But it is a fun road trip for Broncos fans.
- At L.A. Chargers: Loss – After the Chargers’ traditional 0-4 start, they’re playoff-bound.
- Kansas City: Loss – Yes, the Chiefs have probably clinched everything they need and Mahomes is sitting on the bench. Does it matter?
The Broncos go 5-12 — this 17-game thing is going to be an adjustment — and 0-6 within the AFC West. Even if you think I’m full of whatever and have been stingy with wins, fine. Give them three wins out of nowhere and they’re still 8-9.
The Broncos are irrelevant and the future doesn’t look much brighter, especially in the division where every team has a quarterback except Denver.
The choice is to continue to stink/tank — even though I think the Broncos have been trying to win games the last five seasons which is kind of sad — or give it a go.
I hesitate to mortgage the future, but the NFL changes so quickly that there only really seems to be now. In fairness to the Broncos, with the new NFL television deal, revenues will start to rise steadily during the 2020s, helping the team with money for free agency. And it’s not like the Broncos have used first-rounders effectively to find a quarterback. (Do I really need to bring up Paxton Lynch?) Send them to green Bay for Aaron.
Go for it.
Make Denver Broncos Football Interesting Again.