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Woody Paige: What are the odds for the next Denver Broncos quarterback?

February 20, 2018 Updated: February 21, 2018 at 9:10 am
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In regard to sports, you and I are wrong occasionally (often?), but the general belief is that "Las Vegas always seems to get it right.''

There's a valid reason for the multitude of high-rise resorts, casinos, sports books and all-you-can-devour cheap buffets.

The betting line on a game will be minus-3.5; you take the favorite and lay the points, and your team wins by 3. You lose. But, then, Vegas has brain burps. The favored Patriots did not win the Super Bowl. One anonymous wise guy took the Eagles plus 5½ points for $3 million. Think he liked that pass to Nick Foles for a touchdown?

Which brings us, as usual, to Kirk Cousins.

Tuesday was the opening of a two-week window when NFL teams may designate players with the franchise tag, and Washington did nothing. The D.C. team reportedly has been mulling a "tag-you're-it'' ploy for Cousins for the third consecutive season at a $34 million salary even after making a trade in principle (that can't be official until March 14) for Alex Smith.

Washington's front office won't pay $50 million for two QBs, but might figure Cousins could be signed and dealt. However, the Cousins camp has indicated he wouldn't renegotiate the contract if traded, and would become a free agent at season's end. He also could file a grievance against Washington, alleging violation of the "good-faith'' clause in the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement. No team will give Washington two first-round picks for the service of Cousins for one season at $34 mil.

At least nine teams are deliberating the prospect of trying to lure the free Cousins with what will be the highest contract in league history - approximately $175 mil-plus.

The Broncos are prominently in the mix for the most acclaimed free agent quarterback since Peyton Manning signed a five-year, $96 million contract with Denver six years ago next month. The Broncos are first or second (behind the Jets) depending on who's speculating. John Elway is not talking. But authentic sources tell me the Broncos are jumping in for a Manning Repeat, and that Cousins is receptive to a Broncos' offer.

Elway would prefer a veteran quarterback after failed experiments with Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler. Von Miller has become the Broncos' leading cheerleader for Cousins, who recently said to TMZ Sports that it was "flattering to hear a player of Von's caliber to speak nicely of me. It's always nice to be wanted. I would enjoy gathering the information and learning more about Denver.'' Vanilla extract.

The Super Bowl-ready Vikings (confronted with three quarterbacks who will become unrestricted free agents, and only Our Friend Kyle Sloter under contract) and the Jaguars appear to be more attractive than the Browns, Cardinals, Bills, Giants, Jets, Dolphins and the Broncos.

I'm asked constantly: "Do you want fries with that burger, and who will be the Broncos' quarterback next season?''

Yes, and I don't know. You don't know. Anybody who claims to know doesn't know. Cousins doesn't know, and the Broncos, as one of their people told me last week, "don't know.''

Nearly 20 options are possible for the Broncos.

So I reached out to Vegas.

Jay Kornegay, vice president of racing and sports at the Westgate Resort, oversees the SuperBook and is one of the most prominent and respected oddsmakers in Nevada. The 1987 graduate of Colorado State University is a live-and-die-hard fanatic of the Rams, the Rockies, the Avalanche, the Nuggets and the Broncos. But he has to be objective about Colorado teams when setting betting lines and odds.

You can't make a legal bet on who will be the Broncos' quarterback this year, but Kornegay agreed Tuesday to provide us with the odds ("off the cuff'' and for entertainment purposes only):

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) attempts a pass during an NCAA college football game against Kansas at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. (Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP) 

Baker Mayfield, 9-2.

Kirk Cousins, 6-1.

Tyrod Taylor, 10-1.

A.J. McCarron, 10-1.

Brock Osweiler, 10-1.

Case Keenum, 11-1.

Sam Bradford, 12-1.

Josh Rosen, 18-1.

Sam Darnold, 20-1.

Josh Allen, 25-1.

Teddy Bridgewater, 80-1.

Josh McCown, 80-1.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, 500-1.

Drew Brees, 1,000-1.

Jay Kornegay, 2,500-1.

Jay Cutler, 3,000-1.

Brandon Weeden, 5,000-1.

I wouldn't bet on either Jay. Who would you bet on?

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