Former Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Case Keenum is expected to sign with the Denver Broncos once free agency officially opens on Wednesday afternoon, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported early Tuesday morning. Coming off a career year where Minnesota went 11-3 in Keenum’s starts, the 30-year-old hit the market at the perfect time. No win bigger than the walk-off 61-yard touchdown to Stefon Diggs against the New Orleans Saints that sent the Vikings to the NFC Championship game.
Keenum represents a massive upgrade for John Elway‘s Broncos who still have an elite caliber defense led by Von Miller, but struggled getting any kind of consistent production from the QB spot in 2017. Keenum threw 22 TD’s and 7 picks while completing 67.6% of his passes and throwing for over 3,500 yards in a career-resurgence. Keenum also had the second best QBR in the league behind MVP Tom Brady.
The details haven’t emerged on the contract as far as length or annual salary are concerned, but reports suggest it’s likely in the three-to-four year range at close to $20M annually. A hefty price in the short-term, but the Broncos will have stability at the position and a guy who can lead the Broncos back to the playoffs. Keenum has the connection from when he first entered the league with Houston in former Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak who now works for Elway in the front office.
Keenum will have the weapons, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, and the stout defense to contend in the AFC West for the next few years. This explains why Denver had to move the $11M of Aqib Talib in a trade to the Rams, but could afford to part with the great corner due to their depth at the spot with Chris Harris and Bradley Roby. The Broncos now can use the No. 5 pick in the draft to address a position of need with an elite draft talent, or move down for a haul of picks trading the pick to a QB needy team.
As for the Vikings, it’s Kirk Cousins or bust as this point. They have put all their eggs in one basket and already watched their QB head to Denver and the other two, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater, will also hit the open market. Cousins deal will be lucrative and absurd, and there’s a chance the team that signs him will have to fully guarantee the first three years of the contract. With Denver out, it’s down to three teams in the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes. Those teams are of course the Vikings, the Jets and the Cardinals.
Mike Zimmer and the Vikings front office were tepid on all thre QB’s on the roster in 2017, part of the reason why they are going hard for the likes of Cousins. As for Denver, they are comfortable putting their faith in Keenum due to his success last season and the relationship he has with Gary Kubiak. Keenum goes to a place where he will feel welcomed and the team fully supporting him, and Denver goes right back to contending rather than rebuilding.
Case Keenum is headed to Denver, and John Elway went out and found another free agent Quarterback that can get his team right back into contention in one fell swoop.
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