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.