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 is a Co-Founder and the Vice President of Content Strategy at DNVR. He's also the host of the award-winning DNVR Broncos Podcast and a Broncos columnist for the network. If you couldn't tell based on the fact that he never stops talking about the Buffs, RK graduated from the University of Colorado with a double-major in Journalism and Communication back in 2015, just a few weeks after helping launch then-BSN Denver. A native of Boulder, Colorado, if he's not watching Colorado sports, you might find him on the golf course, taking pictures of wildlife or on the nearest porch with a drink. Follow Ryan on Twitter - @RyanKoenigsberg

  • “Hopefully, I’m not one of them, but if I am, I’m confident I’ll land on my feet.”
    – more like land on his knee, amirite??

  • I honestly don’t see the need for many cuts.

    I was making some counts, and, if we cut CJ, Sanders, Stewart and Menelik, designing both Sanders and Menelik for post June 1st, and extend/restructure Talib, Roby and Harris, we don’t need any other move and will free around 38M in cap space. Considering that the cap will probably explode in 2020 after the new CBA, we can backload a lot of the veteran QB’s money. I did a mock contract for Cousins, and supposing we have 5 years, 150M, 92M guaranteed and 60M of signing bonus, we can give him a strucure of something like this:

    Y1- 1M
    Y2- 5M
    Y3- 15M + 10M roster bonus
    Y4- 18M + 10M roster bonus
    Y5- 21M + 10M roster bonus

    Considering 60M in 5 years means 12M per year, he would count only 13M in year 1 and only 17M in year 2, meaning we would have enough cap to do several moves.

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