The Denver Broncos are open to keeping quarterback Case Keenum in 2019 despite trading for former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco.
While president of football operations/general manager John Elway cannot comment on the Flacco move until March 13, it was little surprise that he fielded questions about the future of Keenum, who Elway described as “the perfect fit for us” just 12 months ago when “we got our guy.”
Fast forward through a disappointing 6-10 season and Elway described Keenum as a “short-term fix” in January then reached an agreement last month to send a fourth-round pick to Baltimore for Flacco.
Keenum is no longer the guy but has one year remaining on the two-year $36 million deal he signed barely 12 months ago, and Elway is leaving it up to the quarterback to decide his future.
With $21m against the salary cap in 2019, Keenum will have to decide between restructuring his contract to remain in Denver as a backup or looking elsewhere, where he could also be limited to a backup role or a bridge role while grooming his replacement.
John Elway said he’d like to have Case Keemun back with the broncos. His contract would obviously have to be adjusted. Also if Keenum’s camp would like to seek out a trade, Elway said he would allow them to do so.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) February 27, 2019
The Broncos would clear Keenum’s $18m base salary with a pre-June 1st trade, carrying $3m — from a guaranteed bonus — in dead money but, if they didn’t find a trade partner, the team would save just $11m and face a costly dead cap hit of $10m.
Possible landing spots for Keenum include Miami likely to move on from Ryan Tannehill under new head coach Brian Flores, Arizona, where Kliff Kingsbury — his position coach in college — is a rookie head coach in the NFL, while Washington could also be interested as they monitor whether Alex Smith will be able to play after his gruesome leg injury.
The Redskins have long-term backup Colt McCoy under contract, but he is also coming off a broken leg, so Keenum could provide some insurance without having to go all-in on a quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft.