DENVER -- Case Closed?
Even with the signing of quarterback Case Keenum -- the deal will become official on Wednesday -- the Broncos continue eyeing moves. While Kirk Cousins was ever-so-briefly the top target, the Keenum signing provides flexibility to address multiple other needs.
The contract is expected to be in the two-to-three year range for $36 to $40 million, creating roster flexibility that would not have existed by guaranteeing Cousins $86 million (his reported deal with the Vikings).
Simply put, the Broncos are dating Keenum, but are not married to him. His addition does not preclude the Broncos from taking a quarterback with the fifth overall pick in the draft if they choose. That's why John Elway, Gary Kubiak and crew are attending pro days for Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and UCLA's Josh Rosen this week. And it leaves the Broncos open for business to trade back in the first round and add picks since they no longer have to select a quarterback.
Options are welcome for a team attempting to avoid back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1972. I talked to multiple players about the Keenum addition on Tuesday. They privately wanted Cousins, but warmed to this deal as the contract details emerged. One veteran said, "It's time to go to work." And other insisted, "Case will be fine if we improve the Oline."
All-Pro linebacker Von Miller praised the signing, declaring on Instagram, "Looks/Feels right to me! We got what we were looking for! Franchise QB that's the perfect fit for Denver. @JohnElway with the deep 3-pointer! Like Always. Leeettttss Gooo!!! Time for me to hold up my end of the deal now."
The Broncos did not spiral to 5-11 because of one position, even as dreadful as the quarterback play was in 2017. Denver needs to accumulate additional talent. The Broncos are seeking, in free agency, an offensive tackle, nickel cornerback and possibly a tight end to help in the red zone.
Denver did lose one of its few free agents it sought to retain. Linebacker Corey Nelson, a solid special teams contributor who dealt with a pectoral injury last season, joined the Philadelphia Eagles on a one-year contract. Nelson told Denver7 that the Broncos made an offer, but he could not pass on the Eagles.
"Going to Philly. It was the best deal and opportunity for me," Nelson said.
With Nelson gone, the Broncos have made an offer to free agent linebacker Todd Davis. Davis told Denver7 on Monday he was anxious to see what happens. He enjoys playing for the Broncos, but they were willing to let him enter the market. Davis won the team's Ed Block Courage Award last season, his career defined by work ethic and film study.