The Denver Broncos put a band-aid over their quarterback situation, agreeing to terms with free agent Case Keenum Tuesday. The terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.
Keenum posted his best numbers in 2017 at the controls of the Minnesota Vikings. He threw for a career-high 3,547 yards with 22 touchdowns against only 7 interceptions with a 67.6 completion percentage while leading Minnesota to the NFC Championship game.
The numbers were great, but even his own coach, Mike Zimmer, wondered if he could repeat them. Turns out the Vikings brass didn’t believe he could, signing Kirk Cousins instead and allowing Keenum to walk and eventually ending up in Denver.
Keenum has been a career journeyman and backup for most of his career and people are viewing this move as bridging between the failed quarterback experiments of the past couple of seasons and potentially a younger quarterback that could be selected as early as the first round of this April’s draft.
But for today, Keenum is the starter, so let’s take a look at what that means for the Denver offense.
Case Keenum, QB, DEN
Let’s start with what Keenum is. He’s a stable presence, who’s pretty accurate. He is more of a risk-taker than Sam Bradford, whom Keenum took over for early in the season. Keenum does a good job of distributing the ball amongst all of the receivers, but will feed his top two, which last year was Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen and this season will be in the persons of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
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DLF rankers don’t carry much faith in Keenum. As of today he is currently QB26, and 238th overall. His high point in the past three months came in January after the playoff run, which he made it all the way up to 199 overall.
What he’s not is a big-armed dynamo. If you are expecting the second coming of Andrew Luck, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you’re looking for, say, Drew Brees-lite, then this might be your guy. If you fall in love with Keenum, which I guess is possible, don’t expect a long-term relationship. He might get you through 2018, but expect Denver to be back on the quarterback market next season if they don’t select a rookie.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN
This move is actually good news for Thomas. This is the best quarterback Thomas has played with since Peyton Manning retired. This past season was the first that Thomas hadn’t posted 1,000 yards since 2011.
Keenum definitely had eyes for his No. 1 wideout Stefon Diggs in Minnesota. Everyone remembers the play against New Orleans to put the Vikings into the NFC title game, but the pair had a good rapport as Diggs was Keenum’s go-to man in the clutch.
Thomas runs mostly intermediate routes, which is where Keenum excels. The pair should be a good match for each other. Keenum will get the ball out quickly and let Thomas do his YAC thing. His current ADP is 55 overall, but overall has been sliding. I could see a slight uptick, but nothing crazy.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, DEN
Much like Thomas above, I don’t anticipate Sanders to have a huge jump either. Sanders’ numbers were down in 2017, but he did miss six games due to injury. Despite that, he still had the second-most targets on the team by an almost 2-to-1 margin.
Sanders is more of the field stretcher of the duo, but he’s still not what most people would consider to be a burner. Sanders has never had double-digit touchdowns in any season and I don’t expect that to change with Keenum.
Just like Thomas, Sanders’ ADP has been sliding as of late. He currently stands 131 overall. Again, he could see a bump, but I wouldn’t expect a major shift.
CJ Anderson, RB, DEN
The running game and the passing game will always be linked, so when you switch out a quarterback, that affects all facets of your offense. In truth, if anyone gets a decent gets a decent bump out of this signing, it might be Anderson.
As mentioned above, Keenum is a bit of a risk taker. That means he’s going to look to push the ball down the field. That, in turn, should keep the safeties back, opening up better running lanes for Anderson.
Anderson is heading into the prime of his career, turning 27 this season. He put up his first 1,000-yard season in 2017 while getting three times more carries than Devontae Booker, who was next in line. The buy-low window might be closed, but if you held on to him, you might be able to turn a profit.
Trevor Siemian, QB, DEN
There has to be a loser in this scenario, and Siemian drew the short straw. First off, he’s losing his job. Second, let’s be honest, he wasn’t great last year. He only threw for 2,285 yards with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. See? I told you it wasn’t great.
His ADP was on a bit of an upswing, but those days are over. If you’re a believer in carrying the starer’s backup, you might want to stash Siemian. But with a potential rookie on the way, Siemian is a dice roll at best.
*This article borrows from pro-football-reference.com