Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford

One of the main storylines heading into the NFL Draft tonight has also been one of the main storylines since Super Bowl 50 ended: Who the heck is going to be the Denver Broncos’ 2016 starting quarterback?

Given that the rest of the roster remains Super Bowl-quality on paper, and knowing how aggressive general manager John Elway has been in recent years to give the Broncos the best chance to succeed, it’s rather puzzling that the only notable quarterback on Denver’s roster entering the draft is Mark Sanchez.

Especially when you consider that they don’t pick until 31st in the first round, at which point at least two (Jared Goff and Carson Wentz), and possibly three, four, or even five quarterbacks could be gone already. And even if the Broncos were to land a Paxton Lynch, Christian Hackenberg, or Connor Cook, do they want to throw that (raw) guy into the pressure of trying to defend a Super Bowl?

Whatever the case, the belief is that the Broncos will try hard to find a quarterback this weekend, whether that’s through the draft or trade. And if it’s going to be through trade, the team on the other side of the deal is going to of course want picks back, with their preference likely being to have those picks in this year’s draft. So, if there’s going to be a trade for a veteran quarterback, it’s most likely to be today or sometime this weekend.

The quarterback that has been most discussed (in reports) as a trade target for the Broncos over the last few months has been the San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick. 49ers general manager Trent Baalke even said on Wednesday morning that Kaepernick could be traded this week. Broncos reporter Mike Klis of 9News reports that Denver had conversations with the 49ers on Monday, but that “the parties hung up no closer to a deal”:

For the first time in at least two weeks, the Broncos and San Francisco 49ers held a conversation Monday regarding quarterback Colin Kaepernick, an NFL source told 9NEWS. But both sides reiterated their positions and the parties hung up no closer to a deal.

However, there appears to be movement with the Broncos towards a deal for another veteran quarterback: Sam Bradford. Klis says that the Broncos “are in” on Bradford:

Meanwhile, an NFL source on Wednesday told 9NEWS the Broncos “are in” on Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Sam Bradford. General manager John Elway has talked with Eagles’ general manager Howard Roseman about Bradford, the Eagles’ quarterback who issued a trade demand this week.

However, the Eagles so far haven’t expressed a willingness to deal Bradford, even though it’s clear the veteran quarterback has now attained lame-duck status after Philadelphia moved up to the draft’s No. 2 spot with the intention of selecting quarterback Carson Wentz.

As Klis notes, the Eagles continue to act as though they plan to keep Bradford, despite the fact that they traded up for the second pick in the draft to get one of Goff or Wentz, and despite the fact that Bradford has reportedly demanded a trade. Now, perhaps that’s just Eagles general manager Howie Roseman trying to keep the trade price higher for Bradford than it would be if other teams knew Philadelphia was trying to get rid of the quarterback.

While the idea of Bradford being the Denver starter may not seem that sexy on the surface, he’d be a notable upgrade — on paper — over 2015 Peyton Manning. Bradford threw for 19 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, and had an 86.4 QB rating in 2015, while Manning had nine touchdown passes, 17 interceptions, and an NFL-worst 67.9 QB rating on the season.

Klis also reports that the Broncos “expressed interest” in former Houston Texans quarterback and current free-agent, Brian Hoyer, but that Denver has not offered him a contract.


About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.