Earlier this month, the Denver Broncos for longtime Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, sending a fourth-round pick to the Ravens in exchange for the former Super Bowl MVP. Denver has been in the quarterback wilderness for some time now so the team being interested in a QB makes sense, but there had been rumors swirling around the Senior Bowl that the team was infatuated with Missouri's Drew Lock, and instead the team traded for a high-priced veteran who has been extremely ineffective over the past few seasons.
The trade was so odd that even the Broncos' incumbent starting quarterback, Case Keenum, was caught off guard when John Elway decided to make the move for Flacco.
"Elway called me that morning and we had a great conversation, which he didn't have to do, and I appreciated that," Keenum said during a podcast appearance featuring himself and his wife. "I was definitely shocked, it was a surprise for us and I think probably for the first day or so that's kind of what it was. But for us, we're definitely disappointed, it's not something we wanted to happen. I know that everybody's doing their job and John feels like that was a chance for him to help the Broncos out."
Keenum signed a two-year, $36 million deal last offseason and is set to count for $21 million against the Broncos books in 2019. Flacco will count for $18.5 million against Denver's books, and the idea that the Broncos will pay this duo $39.5 million seems highly unlikely. Denver could cut Keenum's cap hit in half (to $10 million) by releasing him at some point this offseason, or to just $3 million by finding a trade. One of the two seems likely, which means Keenum's future is up in the air.
"You know, really, it's really open-ended right now," Keenum said. "We don't know what's going to happen, there's still a lot up in the air; this is really fresh. So a lot of these emotions that we're talking about are still kind of going on, still happening. So who knows what's going to be in store? I don't for sure, God does. But we'll be ready for whatever God has in store for us next."
There are several teams who could be looking for a bridge starter type this offseason, but Keenum has only one above-average season under his belt and seemed to regress to his prior levels while in Denver last year. He'll almost certainly be on a team next year, but it might be as a backup after being waived by the Broncos, rather than as a starter.