DENVER — The season’s worst kept secret is officially out on the table. The Denver Broncos have a major quarterback problem, and they’re hell-bent on fixing it.

On Tuesday, Broncos president of football operations and general manager John Elway sat in front of a horde of Denver media and made the obvious public.

“For us to have a chance to get better, we have to get better at (quarterback),” he said. “The number one goal is we know we have to get better at (quarterback).”

But as the man in charge admitted what many players in the locker room had been subtly—or not so subtly—hinting at all season, at least one of those players was listening closely, and he knows what it means.

Mere hours after Elway had exited the team room at Broncos headquarters, and the organization began some fitting demolition on that very room, BSN Denver caught up with linebacker Brandon Marshall at his “Night of Love and Laughter” event, benefitting the Williams Marshall Cares Leadership Program.

“When I hear that—the priority is to get a quarterback—that doesn’t mean draft, in my opinion,” he explained. “We already drafted one. They’re gonna pay somebody, which means people are gonna have to go. We’ll see what happens.”

The players have felt the storm coming really since the season went south, but with the first bolts officially striking on Monday, everyone is officially on notice.

“These guys, they fired six coaches. What’s next? Players,” Marshall said. “Not because we don’t have talent; we have great receivers and DBs, linebackers and running backs, you know what I’m saying? We have great D-Lineman, we have really good pieces. I’m not sure, but I think they’re going to go get a free-agent quarterback and if they do, they’ll have to pay him a lot of money, and that means you have to cut money elsewhere. That’s just the business of it.

“I wish it was like baseball where everybody gets 100 million but it doesn’t work like that,” he added. “They’re going to try to cut ties with some people, whether it is age or contract or both. Hopefully, I’m not one of them, but if I am, I’m confident I’ll land on my feet.”

Interestingly enough, according to spotrac, the Broncos would only save $1 Million on the salary cap this season by cutting Marshall. The linbacker’s cap hit is $7 million, and his dead cap is $6 million. When compared with players like Aqib Talib ($11 million in potential savings), Derek Wolfe ($7+ million in potential savings) Emmanuel Sanders ($5+ million in potential savings) and C.J. Anderson ($4.5 million in potential savings), Marshall should feel fairly safe.

Such is not the case. As the Broncos break for the offseason, Marshall is holding on to hope and optimism.

“I’m a very optimistic individual. I’m a very optimistic individual, and I hope I’ll be back, this is kind of where I’ve made my home,” he said. “They gave me a chance, and I didn’t disappoint them, so I hope I’ll be back but you just never know with contract situations and free agency and quarterbacks and this and that. We’ll see.”

All of this, though, does not mean that Marshall is in disagreement with the team’s priorities. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

“I think it’s huge to have somebody that can give you great quarterback play, great consistency, doesn’t turn the ball over as much and it just a leader,” he said. “I think that’s huge. When we had Peyton, it felt like we were unstoppable.”

At this point, it’s no longer about if the Broncos will get a QB, it’s about how, who, and what will have to take place to get them there.

Saddle up.

Ryan Koenigsberg
Author

Ryan D. Koenigsberg, was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, and is the Vice President of Content Strategy and co-founder of BSN Denver. Ryan also covers and travels with the Denver Broncos. Education: Graduated from the University of Colorado in 2015 with a degree in both Broadcast Journalism and Communication. Career: I got my start in Journalism in 2011 with an internship covering University of Colorado athletics for a website called BuffScoop.com, a branch of the 247Sports Network. Less than one year after accepting that position, I was promoted to the lead writer of the site. After another year at BuffScoop, I was hired to a staff position covering the Buffaloes for Buffstampede.com, the CU site for the Rivals.com network. Two years later, shortly before officially graduating from CU, I was approached by a dude named Brandon Spano who was planning to revolutionize the way sports were covered in our great state. I accepted a position on the ground floor of BSN Denver that, at the time, centered—once again—around covering the Buffaloes. After another year on the Buffs beat that resulted in winning the inaugural BSN Denver Silver Slugger award—given to the writer whose stories generated the most traffic—I was promoted to the Broncos beat. In my time at BSN, I’ve had the pleasure of covering a Super Bowl, a Pac-12 Championship, a bowl game, multiple games in the NCAA Tournament and so much more. Somewhere along the way, I earned that fancy title you see at the top of all this. Most memorable sports moment: Nov. 23, 2001: Behind SIX Chris Brown rushing touchdowns, the No. 14 Colorado Buffaloes trounce the No. 2 Nebraska Cornhuskers by a count of 62-36. It was the day I fell in love with college football for good. So much so that I haven’t missed a single Buffs’ home game since. The finest sports book I’ve ever read: I don’t know about finest, but when I was in elementary school, I read every single Matt Christopher book in our school library. It was the best way to not stray away from sports while still filling those pesky reading logs. One sports movie that I can’t live without: When I was a kid, I didn’t have cable in my room but I did have a TV with a VCR. Thing is, I only had a few movies on VCR and I needed to have the TV on to fall asleep. Well, eventually I came around to the fact that the best movie I had was “Cool Runnings,” so I feel asleep to the Jamaican Bobsled team every night for years. You need sleep to live and I couldn’t sleep without “Cool Runnings” SO I guess that’s the one I can’t live without. Most memorable experience as a reporter: Pretty hard to beat the week leading up  to Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco. To be at the center of the sports world with not only the greatest athletes but also the greatest sports journalists in the world all around was a truly special experience. Between wake up calls at 4:45 am to catch the media shuttle to the Broncos hotel by 6, the 14-hour work days and the regrettable post-work festivities, I calculated that I got about 20 hours of sleep over an eight-day period… and I wouldn’t have traded one minute of it all. That was awesome. The sport that started it all: It’s hard to pinpoint one sport that truly “started it all” for me. When I was a kid, I remember people used to always ask me what my favorite sport was, and I would always answer the same thing, “Whatever sport is in season.” As long as I can remember, my life has always revolved directly around sports, from playing to watching to writing. It’s not a sport that started it all, it sports that started it all.