Turns out Kirk Cousins won't be the first free-agent quarterback to sign with a new team. Adam Schefter and others are reporting that when free agency begins tomorrow, the Broncos will sign Case Keenum away from the Minnesota Vikings. Whether they prefer him, or accepted that Cousins will be choosing another new home, Denver will be moving forward with Keenum at quarterback.
There's a history, in that Keenum worked with Broncos coach Vance Joseph and front-office man Gary Kubiak in Houston at the start of his career. Perhaps that factored into Denver's comfort with him, and the fact he'll be more modestly priced than the crazy money being talked about with Cousins.
Denver needs to hope that Keenum's big season with Minnesota, where he helped lead the team to the NFC Championship Game, is the real Case Keenum. He posted excellent numbers in 2017, but was much lesser in his career with the Texans and Rams prior to that.
|CASE KEENUM CAREER|
Keenum threw about as many touchdown in 15 games last year (22) as he'd thrown in 26 games prior (24). Prior to 2017 he also threw about three times as many interceptions (20-7) in fewer than twice as many games. Completion percentage, yards per game, and passer rating were all considerably lower in previous seasons. The Broncos are hoping that those numbers were largely a product of an antiquated offensive system, primarily under Jeff Fisher and his coaching staff, that other quarterbacks also struggled in.
On Keenum's behalf, with the Vikings last year he was working with a high-quality pair of wideouts for the first time in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. He should have that in Denver, with the Broncos expected to keep Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in the fold.
We'll see what the money and contract terms are, but I am going to guess this means the Broncos will not select a quarterback in the first round. In general, if you select one that early, you expect him to be in the lineup within a year, as with Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes. You never say never, but I think Keenum will be Denver's starter for the next couple of seasons. That's the plan, anyway.
And if he falls on his face, or is more like the quarterback he was from 2013-2016, the Broncos will be one of the teams drafting one early a year or two from now.