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If nothing else, imagine the look on Pat Shurmur’s face. The Broncos’ offensive coordinator is in his office, twiddling his pencil, sketching out incompletions, when someone bursts open the door.
“Pat! Pat! Pat, they traded Teddy.”
Shurmur stops twiddling. The pencil drops.
“We did. George did.”
“Drew is starting in Dallas.”
With that, everything snaps. The pencil. Shurmur’s mind. He resigns on the spot. The Broncos get an early start on 2022. Everybody wins!
Look, Teddy Bridgewater is a great guy. A cool story. Someone you root for in football and in life.
But we’re delaying the inevitable here, aren’t we? If he’s the starting quarterback for the Broncos in 2022 and beyond, something either went very, very right or very, very wrong.
Steady Teddy was always a rental. A short-term fix. If general manager George Paton wants to get a leg up on next season, he’ll trade No. 5 for whatever draft capital he can get back. And he’ll do it before this offensive line gets Bridgewater beaten up any more than it already has.
You could make a case to move any of the Broncos’ cache of veterans in contract years before the Nov. 2 trade deadline. Pass-rushing ace Von Miller? Should’ve been dealt two seasons ago, at peak health and value. Now he’s 32 years old and carrying a $17.5 million base salary that’s too hefty for a team to happily take off Paton’s payroll.
You know what kind of return you’ll get for cornerback Kyle Fuller? Nada. Tackle Bobby Massie? Nada. Safety Kareem Jackson? Tailback Melvin Gordon? Mostly nada.
But in a passing league, passers — especially ones with 12 touchdown throws against five picks and a 70.1% completion rate over seven games this fall — still have value. The Jets just took a flier on Joe Flacco, for pity’s sake.
Trading for Teddy was a good idea at the time, George. Brilliant? No. Bold? Uh-uh. Bridgewater was about ball security and safety. Serviceability.
Serviceability might nudge you into the playoffs if your offensive coordinator isn’t proudly drawing up plays with a pencil while the rest of the league uses tablets and Microsoft Surface pens. Serviceability works if your defense resembles the 2000 Ravens or the No-Fly-Zone Broncos of 2015. And this one, for all that hype and hope, looks like neither.
Coach Vic Fangio can’t fix it. Or even properly tweak it. Which defeats the point of Uncle Vic still being here, really. It defeats the point of Paton handing him every defensive toy he’d asked for this past spring.
It defeats the point of Bridgewater’s services, too. The Broncos this past April sent a sixth-round pick from the ’21 draft to Carolina for No. 5. Why not call the Panthers — another September mirage who’ve dropped four straight — and offer Bridgewater back, straight up, for a sixth-rounder in ’22?
The Sam Darnold Experiment is blowing up in Carolina. The Panthers are already on the hook for $7.062 million to Bridgewater this fall in a restructured bonus, compared to the Broncos’ reported $4.4 million in obligations.
The Bears could use a Plan C at quarterback. The Saints could use a Plan B who isn’t Trevor Siemian.
The Dolphins are openly, unapologetically desperate. Bridgewater would make a better complement in Philly to young Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts than Gardner Minshew.
Yes, you’d be flying the white flag over Empower Field. Yes, you’d be sending a message of surrender to your veterans. Although, haven’t some of those veterans been sending you subtle signals of surrender already?
And yes, you’d be rolling the dice with Drew Lock and/or Brett Rypien behind center the rest of the way. But is that appreciably worse than watching a gimpy Bridgewater try and fail to outduel Case bleeping Keenum on national television?
Lock gives his legion of Drew stans a chance to prove they were right all along during the preseason. Bridgewater gets another chance somewhere else to be a mentor and a relief pitcher, which is likely his NFL destiny the rest of the way. The Broncos play out the string going young, because young and bad is still less pathetic than saying you’re going for it, chirping about “urgency,” yet doing the same thing, over and over, while expecting a different result.
That’s the very definition of insanity, and it’s driving Broncos Country crazy. The Broncos’ petty ownership squabbles have resembled a script from HBO’s “Game of Thrones” for too dang long. Winter is coming.
New management. New coach. New quarterbacks. It’s time to either go big for an Aaron Rodgers or a Deshaun Watson, or it’s time to grow up, man up, and get real about a rebuild.
Stop settling for something in between. Stop spending on defense in an offensive, pass-friendly league. Stop crossing your fingers at quarterback and aiming low at head coach. Stop trying to win the Indy 500 with a Sherman tank.