Aaron Rodgers. Russell Wilson. Deshaun Watson.
This is the first group.
Kirk Cousins. Jimmy Garoppolo. Carson Wentz.
This is the next batch of names.
James Winston. Marcus Mariota. Mitchell Trubesky.
These are the best free proxies available.
Kenny Beckett. Coral Matt. Owner Willis.
These are the possible choices from the first round of discussion.
It’s the same names over and over again. around and around he goes. The Broncos’ search for the midfielder continues.
They need to be lucky. They need stability. Or they need access. These appear to be the only three options for resolving a dilemma that has baffled the organization since Peyton Manning’s retirement after Super Bowl 50.
None of them seem to be a good bet. They all feel hopeless.
That’s why the Broncos need to take matters into their own hands. They need to create an option out of the box. And they are there to take it, if they are willing to get creative.
Conventional wisdom suggests that the 49ers will move from Garoppolo this off season. After giving up three first-round picks, plus a third, to move to Trey Lance a year ago, most people expect San Francisco to turn the page and go with the youngster in 2022.
Logical. But it is not a definitive decision.
In the past three years, the Niners have played in two NFC Championship games and the Super Bowl. Since getting Jimmy G, they are 31-14 when he started in the middle. Team 8-28 when he doesn’t.
So there must be a part of Kyle Shanahan ripped apart. Yes, Lance has a lot of abilities. That’s why they gave up so much in order to get it. But it is completely unknown. At 21, no one knows how long it will take him to develop.
The Niners is a Super Bowl contender with Garoppolo. They lost to eventual champion Rams by three points in an NFC title match. They were close to lifting the Lombardy Cup.
Shanahan may not want to move on. History might tell him he shouldn’t.
In 2005, his father was in one game of the Super Bowl when the Broncos lost to the Steelers in the AFC Championship match. But Mike Shanahan was not satisfied. He wanted to move on from Jake Plummer, picking Jay Cutler in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
11 games the following season, with a 7-4 record, Shanahan made the switch. Plummer sat down for Cutler.
The Broncos finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs. They went 7-9 in ’07 and 8-8 in ’08, missing the postseason both years.
Shanahan was fired. Cutler has been traded. And Denver wouldn’t return to the playoffs until Tim Tebow drove them there in 2011.
It could be that Kyle Shanahan is preparing himself for a similar fate if he swings the fences and makes the switch. His team is a rival now. There is no guarantee that they will be with Lance.
If they take a step back with the young QB, which seems likely in the short term, Shanahan could be in the hot seat. Things change quickly in the NFL.
That’s why Broncos need to help him out of a dilemma. They need to throw a lifeline to the Niners family.
Make it easy for San Francisco to hold onto the Garoppolo. Help them get back what they invested in Lance.
The Broncos 49ers must submit three ones and a third to the young quarterback. Then he started building around it.
Lance is talented enough that Shanahan and John Lynch were willing to mortgage their futures to get him. George Patton and Nathaniel Hackett should do the same.
Lance has the skill set to develop into a Josh Allen type quarterback. He has the potential to be a superstar, something the Broncos need in a department with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert and in a conference with Allen and Justin Borough.
It would be a bold move. It will be a gamble. But it is this kind of bold approach that is necessary.
The Niners would move to Lance under almost any other circumstances. But when they knock on the door of the Super Bowl, predicting that for the next three or four years they will be with Garoppolo, they have reason to change course.
The Broncos need to point them in that direction. They need to make an offer they can’t refuse.
Forget the usual names being thrown around. It’s time to add a new one to the list.
Trey Lance should be the answer to this Broncos QB question.