Broncos Are ‘In the Mix’ for Former No. 2 Overall QB: Report

Broncos Mitchell Trubisky

Getty Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky warms up before a game.

The Denver Broncos are still awaiting Aaron Rodgers’s decision about whether he’ll stay in Green Bay, but they have continued to explore all their options. According to Dan Graziano of ESPN, the Broncos are one of the teams “in the mix” for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

“Teams are openly discussing whether Trubisky gets $10 million or more annually on a new deal. That his name is a hot one is not manufactured. It’s real. His career reset in Buffalo went very well, and teams that will look to draft a quarterback could sign Trubisky to start this year. A Trubisky pairing with a first-round quarterback such as Malik Willis wouldn’t shock a few teams,” Graziano wrote on March 6.

“The Panthers, Steelers, Commanders, Giants and potential Broncos are believed to be in the mix here.”

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Broncos Are in the Market for a Bridge QB

If the Broncos do not land Rodgers, the Broncos seem likely to target a bridge quarterback and possibly draft a quarterback, as well.

Graziano alluded to Trusbisky serving as a bridge quarterback for the Broncos, and that lines up with a recent report from Mike Klis of 9news, who said adding a veteran “bridge” quarterback was the team’s Plan B.

Option B would likely be to pick up a veteran “bridge” quarterback — Jameis Winston, Teddy Bridgewater and Mitch Trubisky are the best in a thin free-agent class while sticking with Drew Lock remains a longshot possibility – and then follow it up by also drafting a quarterback within the first two rounds.

Trubisky was selected by the Chicago Bears with the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. After a rocky rookie season, he had a good sophomore campaign, as he threw for 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in 14 games. He finished with a career-high 95.4 quarterback rating and was selected to his only Pro Bowl.

Unfortunately, that was the high point of his tenure with the Bears. He was benched for Nick Foles during the 2020 season.

Trubisky spent last season with the Buffalo Bills backing up Josh Allen.

Broncos Can Structure Trubisky’s Contract to Preserve Cap Space

There is an argument that Trubisky still has potential. Still, Graziano said Trubisky could receive offers of $10 million or more annually, which seems excessive in relation to other veteran free agent options.

With Drew Lock under contract next season, the Broncos could always use him as the “bridge” quarterback and utilize the cap space on an edge rusher or offensive tackle.

If the Broncos wanted to sign Trubisky for $10 million and target other free agents, it is still possible. They could offer Trubisky a contract that included a lot of incentives (games played, passing yards, passing touchdowns, wins) and a relatively low base salary.

For the salary cap, incentives fall into two categories: Likely to Be Earned (LTBE) and Not Likely to Be Earned (NLTBE). They are categorized as LTBE or NLTBE based on a player’s performance from last season. Considering Trubisky was a backup quarterback, most of his incentives will likely be NLTBE.

LTBE incentives count against this year’s salary cap, while NLTBE incentives count against next year’s salary cap. If the Broncos included a lot of NLTBE incentives, they could preserve their cap space for this offseason.

If Trubisky achieves his incentives, it would affect their 2023 salary cap, when the Broncos are projected to have over $117 million in cap space. If Trubisky does not achieve his incentives, the Broncos will preserve their cap space for both offseasons.

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