When it comes to John Elway, nothing is out of the realm of possibility when examining the potential moves that he will or won’t make this offseason, especially after his first season missing the playoffs.
Although Elway and the Broncos have two young quarterbacks with potential—Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch—there will be, and already is, buzz during the offseason about Elway potentially going after an established veteran, much like he did with Colin Kaepernick last year. While Kaepernick to the Broncos never matriculated, it was the talk of the town for the greater part of the 2016 offseason.
Could Kaepernick be back in the discussion this time around? Or will the two biggest names—Tony Romo and Philip Rivers—dominate the conversation? The only certainty in this whole debate is nothing official will be known until at least March 9—the start of the new league year when free agency opens and trades can be made.
However, much like last season, the quarterback dilemma likely won’t be settled any time soon. Until then, here is the final part of the three-part series looking at who has the best shot ending up starting the 2017 season under center in Denver. The final two shouldn’t be a surprise, but the order of the two could.
2) Paxton Lynch
In terms of physical skills and attributes, the kid has it all. From his, official 6-foot-7, 244-pound frame, to his mobility and arm strength, Lynch’s physical tools are nearly unmatched.
However, by far the most important attribute for a quarterback is the mental aspect. A quarterback can have all of the physical gifts in the world, but if they don’t have, or work for, the mental side of the game then none of the physical gifts matter, i.e. JaMarcus Russell.
After a rookie year where Lynch admittedly struggled to grasp the NFL playbook, even through Week 17, his biggest goal this offseason will be to learn the new Mike McCoy offense, which will likely be catered to him.
To be fair to Lynch, arguably the most difficult transition in all of sports is for a quarterback going from college to the NFL. Heck, even Peyton Manning struggled mightily his rookie year. Lynch will have all of the help and support possible this offseason to help him win the job, but the battle between he and Siemian will ultimately come down to whether Lynch is ready or not.
If Lynch takes a step much like Siemian did from year one to year two, then Lynch will be in a great position to win the job. However, if he lets Siemian hold on to the job another year, it may be Siemian’s to lose for many years to come.
1) Trevor Siemian
The 14-game starter from last season enters the 2017 offseason the slight front runner as “the guy” in Denver, even after a coaching overhaul on the offensive side of the ball. Even though Siemian lost his biggest advocate in head coach Gary Kubiak to retirement, there was no doubt that he was far more suited for the job last season over Lynch.
While Vance Joseph, McCoy and Bill Musgrave will inherit Siemian and Lynch with an unbiased mindset—in theory—at the end of the day, the better quarterback between the two will play, because as Elway said, at the end of the day he wants Joseph and his staff to have the accountability.
Furthermore, for Siemian’s case, he was invited to the Pro Bowl. Even as an alternate, and although he couldn’t attend due to injury, it is still a great national honor showing how impressive his first season on the field actually was.
Although all of the attention around growth will be around Lynch, Siemian grew leaps and bounds in just the last calendar year, so what’s to say this growth won’t continue?
If there was anything taken away from the meaningless Week 17 game, it was that Kubiak believes Siemian is the quarterback of the future. Only time will tell if the former head coach was correct.