Broncos reportedly agree to trade Case Keenum to Redskins, will pay half of QB's 2019 salary

The Redskins have found a solution at quarterback that isn't Josh Rosen

On Thursday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that the Redskins were working on a trade with the Broncos that would send Case Keenum to Washington. At the time, Rapoport reported that the trade wasn't done yet, but both teams were "motivated" to push it past the finish line, which made sense. After trading for Joe Flacco, the Broncos had no real need for Keenum. After losing Alex Smith to an injury that might cost him the entire 2019 season, the Redskins needed a starting quarterback.

Not long after, the details of the trade came through. According to 9News' Mike Klis, the Broncos will get a sixth-round pick in 2020 and pay half of Keenum's salary in addition to a $500,000 bonus, which comes out to $4 million in total. The Redskins will get Keenum for $3.5 million and a seventh-round pick in 2020.

And that could take the Redskins out of the running for Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen, who is drawing interest on the trade market due to the Cardinals' perceived interest in Kyler Murray. If the Cardinals take Murray with the top pick in the draft, they'll need to move on from Rosen, a top-10 pick just a year ago. Given the state of the Redskins' quarterback position, they were an obvious candidate to trade for him, right up until the moment news of the Keenum trade emerged. If the Cardinals are looking to trade Rosen, they might have to look elsewhere. 

Keenum shouldn't be the reason why the Redskins reject any offers that involve Rosen, but his presence makes it less likely they'll wind up with Rosen. The Redskins are slightly less desperate to get him now.

For Keenum, it's a tremendous opportunity to audition for a starting job in 2020. After an out-of-nowhere career year in Minnesota -- he nearly led the Vikings to the Super Bowl -- Keenum signed with the Broncos in free agency a year ago. He proceeded to morph right back into the kind of quarterback he was prior to the 2017 season, completing 62.3 percent of his passes, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt, and throwing 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in a full season as the Broncos' starter. The Broncos agreed to trade for Flacco after the season.

According to NFL Network's James Palmer, Broncos general manager John Elway preferred to keep Keenum around as a backup on a reworked contract, but was willing to trade Keenum if that's what he wanted. 

Keenum should be able to beat out Colt McCoy in a quarterback competition. For as shaky as he's been throughout his career, Keenum has at times demonstrated the ability to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. McCoy almost never has. Projections from Stephen Oh of SportsLine give the Redskins a 13.2 percent chance of making the playoffs with Keenum and an 11.8 percent chance with McCoy.

Regardless of how next season goes, the Redskins -- like the Broncos -- still need to address their long-term future at the quarterback position. Even if Smith returns for the 2020 season, he'll be 36 years old. Keenum likely isn't the long-term solution. He's nothing more than a bridge quarterback. The Redskins now need to figure out what that bridge leads to, because as of now, it's leading to a 36-year-old quarterback coming off a horrific leg injury.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

Our Latest Stories