In 2012, Denver Broncos general manager John Elway turned to a former Indianapolis Colts quarterback named Peyton Manning to fix their quarterback problems. And the decision paid off in a major way.
Manning, who replaced Tim Tebow as Denver’s starting quarterback, completely altered the trajectory of the storied franchise. In four years, the five-time NFL MVP led the Broncos to a Super Bowl title, two AFC championships and four AFC West titles. He guided the highest-scoring offense in league history (2013) while turning in the greatest regular season by a quarterback in NFL history, setting a number of single-season passing records.
Six years after acquiring Manning, the Broncos could strike gold again in 2018 by aggressively pursuing an offseason trade with the Colts. This time, the payoff would be 28-year-old Andrew Luck.
On the surface, the idea of the Broncos trading for Luck seems far-fetched at best. However, given how the 2017 season has played out, this potentially game-changing scenario could actually come to fruition.
On the Colts’ end, trading the face of their franchise would help to expedite their current rebuilding project. Second-year pro Jacoby Brissett has shown some promise, and Luck is currently on Indianapolis’ season-ending injured reserve list with a right (throwing) shoulder injury. Despite the seriousness of his injury, the former Stanford star is still the type of player that would attract a king’s ransom in a trade.
For Denver, trading for Luck would be both costly (likely multiple first-round picks) and risky ( rumors have been circulating that Luck’s shoulder will never be the same). But in this case, the potential reward clearly outweighs the risk.
There is also the issue of Luck’s contract. Indianapolis would have to be willing to take a significant dead money hit ( roughly $22.2 million), and Denver would have to either restructure several contracts or part ways with at least one or two veteran players to take on Luck’s scheduled 2018 cap hit of $24.4 million. At the end of the day, though, both teams could easily make it work from a salary cap perspective if they want to get a deal done.
For the Broncos to get back to a place where they are competing for Super Bowl titles on an annual basis, Elway is going to have to think outside the box and make a bold move. Acquiring Luck would fit that description.
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