DENVER • OK, then. If this is going to be that kind of Broncos party, let’s pour another and keep it going.
Don’t stop at Joe Flacco.
Direct message Le’Veon Bell. See what he’s up to these days. Poke around and get a figure on what it would cost to bring the ex-Steelers star to the Mile High. Landon Collins, Giants safety, how you doin’? And with the 10th pick in the draft find the biggest, baddest offensive lineman available. Draft him. Feed him red meat.
Oh, there’s more, because there must be more.
Maybe you noticed, but Colorado doesn’t do halfway. We legalize what once put us in high school detention. When the ski lift doesn’t climb high enough, we rent a chopper, baby. Jumping without looking first is ingrained in our DNA.
The Broncos are a pretty decent representation of our state in that way. While they don’t always make the smartest decisions — Who does? Pipe down, Patriots — they also don’t stand pat and dilly-dally around when most organizations would. They go big — and now.
So go big — and now. “Rebuild” flew the coop when John Elway’s front office agreed to a trade for Flacco on Wednesday. All those nifty, thrifty ideas of starting from scratch were burned to the ground with one aggressive, risky, very Elway move.
You don’t trade a fourth-round draft pick for a 34-year-old quarterback to play for the future. You trade for a quarterback with a 10-5 playoff record when you aspire to reach the playoffs.
Smart? Dunno yet. Ballsy? Always.
The Broncos upgraded at quarterback. Not a lot, but a little. They didn’t trade for Tom Brady, Russell Wilson or Patrick Mahomes. They also didn’t stand pat on Case Keenum, a pedestrian on the sidewalk or under center, for one snap longer than necessary.
Don’t like it? Then you’re following the wrong team. This is exactly what the Broncos do. And if the first step to recovery is admitting there is a problem, by firing Vance Joseph and Keenum the Broncos admitted they had a problem. They’re attempting to correct it — and now.
“I remember his first (offseason training) sessions as a rookie, I said to John Harbaugh: ‘You have your horse to ride for 10 years, at least,’” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said of Flacco at the Super Bowl in 2013. “I felt he could be a great quarterback in the league and I still feel that way.”
Flacco isn’t a great quarterback. He’s an OK quarterback. He’s 42-41 in his past five seasons after starting his career 54-26 with a Super Bowl ring. (Prepare your hearts for an endless loop of the Mile High Mistake from Flacco to Jacoby Jones. One man’s opinion: it’s too soon, still.) Like we were saying, he’s OK. But he’s not Keenum, and that’s good enough for now. It speaks volumes that Elway watched Keenum for a full season and Fangio game-planned against Keenum in the NFC North and their mutual conclusion was trading for Joe Flacco.
The most important part of this totally bizarre equation is that Flacco’s contract should not preclude the Broncos from taking a quarterback of the future in the draft. That was the goal — either in 2019 or the quarterback-rich draft of 2020 — and it still must be. But they are not married to the Flacco era, which includes three more years on his contract, none of which is guaranteed.
There’s a lot of talk around these hills about Elway’s legacy. Aside from halting airplane travel, it’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard in 2019. What, seven Super Bowls isn’t enough for you guys?
But there’s one sure-fire way to make certain there is nothing but sunshine and seashells when Elway decides a 10 a.m. tee time trumps the 10th draft pick: draft the quarterback who will be slinging touchdowns long after the haters are slinging barbs at Elway’s time as general manager.
Rule No. 1: Trading for Flacco can’t prevent the Broncos from finding the next Elway or Peyton Manning in the draft, the top priority here.
Rule No. 2: Go 2014 on these fools. That’s when Elway attacked free agency with a vengeance and signed DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward and Emmanuel Sanders. Those Broncos were already good. These Broncos are not. Both times demand the Colorado special.
Go big or go home.
(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at email@example.com or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)