Goodbye, Joe. Hello, Drew.
But the Broncos remain the gift that keeps on giving to quarterbacks.
On their accounting books, payroll and salary cap list in 2019 the Broncos have seven quarterbacks who’ve played a total of 33 games in four seasons.
Joe, we hardly knew you. However, Flacco will end up collecting $18.5 million — $9.250 mil per victory — from the Broncos through 2023.
Paxton Lynch, who still counts $1.272M toward the Broncos’ salary cap this season, earned over $8 million for his lone NFL victory in 2016.
The Broncos paid $4 million this year to Case Keenum to depart to D.C. after he received $18 mil in 2018 in salary and bonuses — and prevailed in only six games.
Drew Lock, who won his first NFL start Sunday, will accumulate $1.274M in salary and bonuses in ’19. Brandon Allen started the three previous games. His income is $645,000, and Kevin Hogan, released just before the season, had gotten a $300,000 bonus.
Brett Rypien, who has signed on three occasions this year with the Broncos, has been rewarded with $315,588 as a bonus, for being a practice-squad quarterback and a brief laptop carrier.
The Broncos, thankfully, are not compensating Brock Osweiler or Trevor Siemian any more.
Yet, the Broncos owed Chad Kelly $32,134 this year.
Flacco, Keenum, Lynch and Allen lost 21 of 31 starts. Kelly, Hogan and Rypien have not appeared in in a serious Broncos game. Keenum, Lynch and Kelly (for the moment) are backups in the NFL, and Rypien has returned to the Broncos’ practice squad this week.
Kelly has just been sued for assault and battery by Von Miller’s videographer, who claims the Broncos’ former quarterback attacked him and broke his nose and his camera equipment at the infamous players’ Halloween party in ‘18. Jackson Belcher says, according to TMZ, that Kelly, "obviously intoxicated, enraged and highly aggressive, inexplicably grabbed him’’ and punched him in the nose and threw him into a railing before security guards restrained Kelly, who was dressed as the character Woody (no relation) from the “Toy Story’’ movies.
After the episode, Kelly wandered at 1 a.m. to a stranger’s house, sat down on the sofa, slurred inarticulately and was chased off by a man wielding a vacuum cleaner tube. Kelly was discovered later, arrested and charged.
The Broncos dumped him immediately, and Kelly ultimately would plead guilty.
The residents of the Denver home also sued Kelly, who has been a ne’er-do-well since high school. Kelly has declined to discuss his ongoing legal and civil matters.
John Elway and Peyton Manning came to the Broncos from the Colts. In return, the Colts are saddled with Kelly. Nice exchange.
(Pause for laughter.)
That entire passel of passers and (trespasser) have been with the Broncos over the years. Elway and Manning turned out to be pretty good, the others not so much.
But, now, the Broncos are optimistic that Lock will be on the positive side of the ledger. He had an auspicious rather than suspicious start.
So, Joe be gone.
He was placed on injured reserve midway through the season with a herniated disk in his neck. He won’t be back. The Broncos most certainly will not dole out $20.250 million in ’20 or $24.250 mil in ’21. Neither amount is guaranteed. The Broncos and Flacco, who in 2016 signed the highest quarterback contract in league history, agreed to restructure his $18.5M salary before this season. He was paid only $1.5 million in base pay and the first of five pro-rata bonuses of $3.4 million. The Broncos will have to absorb a $13.6 mil dead cap hit next year, but save more than $10 million on their live cap.
Since 2016, though, the Broncos really haven’t gotten what they paid for. The Broncos traded up for Lynch in the draft’s first round. Kelly was Vance Joseph’s asserted “favorite quarterback’’ in the 2017 draft when the Broncos chose him last. Mr. “Irrelevant’’ has become relevant in courtrooms, but not on the field.
Perhaps Lock finally will be major return on investment. But even if he plays poorly in the final four, Lock will compete for the starting job next year, or be the backup to the next veteran free agent or drafted quarterback.
Meanwhile, Joe is the latest no-go for the Broncos.