The list of potential starting quarterbacks for the Broncos in 2022 includes 16 names.

None is Drew Lock.

Drew is through. He had his last chance Sunday.

He will be elsewhere, if anywhere, next season and fade into the history of failed and underachieving Broncos starting quarterbacks. That list of names is longer than your arm.

Current starter Teddy Bridgewater may return as the starter or the backup.

And Brett Rypien, who has started and won one game in three seasons, may end up as the latter-day Gary Kubiak, a career reserve and eventual coach.

Most likely the Broncos will start their 12th quarterback since Peyton Manning retired.

Since the retirement of John Elway, add another 10 starters before Manning arrived. Without Elway or Manning, 22 starting quarterbacks in 19 seasons.

Chargers Broncos Football

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) throws against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Denver.

That number is reprehensible.

Who’s got next?

The Broncos could trade for Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, DeShaun Watson, Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan or Jimmy Garappolo. George Paton could sign a quarterback from among unrestricted free agents Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, Mitch Trubisky, Marcus Mariota and Tyrod Taylor.

Or the new ownership regime and Paton could choose to draft a rookie quarterback in Matt Corral, Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett or Carson Strong.

Bridgewater, who will be a free agent, could come back to continue as a bridge starter if the Broncos pick a quarterback in the first round, or he would be QB2 if the Broncos acquire a top-drawer veteran.

Someday the Broncos might have another quarterback other than Elway who starts at least 11 games for four seasons.

Lock is not the man.

We never will know what the Broncos’ record would be if Lock had been named the starter, but we do know that twice he has played in games and didn’t produce stellar results.

In 49 snaps as an injury replacement for Bridgewater in home games against the Ravens and the Chargers, Lock has completed 16 of 28 passes (57.1 percent) for 139 yards, 0 touchdowns and two interceptions, with one fumble (recovered by wide receiver Tim Patrick), four sacks, five first downs, a 40.6 passer rating and a 2.1 quarterback rating.

Vic Fangio says Lock will continue as the backup QB over Rypien, but it’s obvious that the Broncos’ staff doesn’t trust Lock any more than they would Judge-saloon keeper Roy Bean, an ambulance chaser and a sports journalist.

Lock will appear again this season only if Bridgewater, who has proven to be fragile, is hurt again – although Fangio preferred Teddy coming off concussion protocol and, last Sunday in the second half, a limping Bridgewater to a healthy Lock.

Fangio has stated Lock will receive more practice reps with plays he’s comfortable with, just in case, but Drew merely is an emergency – like a small-scale spare tire in the trunk.

In 20 games from 2019-21 Drew has 23 touchdown passes and 24 interceptions and lost fumbles. His record is 8-10.

His value to other teams has decreased this season after he was demoted and lost out in the quarterback duel. The Vikings seemed to have interest in Lock in the off-season during a brief Matt Stafford discussion. No other team sniffed. In 2019 27 teams that drafted before the Broncos at 42nd, when the Broncos traded up to pick Lock, passed on the quarterback.

If the Broncos do trade for a veteran, Lock could be a cheap throw-in. At 26, he will be in the last year of a four-season contract and receive just $1.351 million. I asked Lock last year if he had a goal of getting one of those $30 million per year deals, and he replied he hadn’t thought about it. He certainly can’t consider one now.

Paton obviously is contemplating the Broncos’ quarterback situation in 2022, and Lock will not be part of the equation. The new GM never much cared for him, anyway.

Instead, Paton already has personally seen the top five college quarterbacks and definitely will watch them again, and others, in bowls, the NFL Combine and their Pro Days.

The GM also will be in on Wilson ($24 million next year), Watson ($35 mil) and Rodgers ($27 mil) if they are traded, and Cousins and Garappolo are other expensive options at $33 million and $25 mil.

Meanwhile, Lock soon will join the Broncos’ misfits, washouts and flops. 

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