Boomer Esiason Eyes ‘Less-Expensive’ QB Option for Broncos in 2024

Boomer Esiason

Getty NFL on CBS analyst Boomer Esiason has a "less expensive" guy in mind for the Broncos in 2024.

The Denver Broncos need stability at quarterback to compete with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2024.

There is no easy solution for what the Broncos must do to improve under center ahead of next season. NFL on CBS analyst Boomer Esiason may have an answer for Denver’s ongoing quarterback conundrum.

During an interview with Andrew Mason of Denver Sports, Esiason floated Cincinnati Bengals backup Jake Browning as an option for the Broncos.

“A guy like Jake Browning on the Bengals, for instance. Came out of nowhere. And had a great year replacing Joe Burrow,” Esiason told Mason in a February 13 post on X. “Could that be a guy that the Broncos would consider? Because he would be a less-expensive guy, and you can build a better team around him.”

What Would it Cost to Acquire Browning From the Bengals This Offseason?

When Burrow suffered a season-ending injury in Week 11 against the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati appeared to be finished. Browning stepped in and nearly saved the Bengals’ season.

In seven starts with Burrow sidelined, Browning completed 70.4% of his passes for 1,936 yards with 12 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. The Bengals went 4-3 with the University of Washington product, yet finished last in the AFC North despite a 9-8 record.

While Browning could be successful under head coach Sean Payton, his status is an issue, as Mason pointed out.

“For the Broncos to get Browning, they’d have to trade for him,” Mason wrote in his February 13 article for Denver Sports. “Browning is set to become an exclusive-rights free agent, which simply means if the Bengals offer him a standard, minimum contract for his experience, he either signs it or he doesn’t play. Thus, Cincinnati has all his rights.”

Cincinnati might also be unwilling to part with Browning as he kept the ship afloat and ran the offense effectively.

Injuries have forced Burrow to miss 13 games since being selected first overall in the 2020 NFL draft. The Bengals are unlikely to trade a quality backup with familiarity in the offense.

‘No One in the League’ Expects Broncos to Retain Russell Wilson: Report

Imagining Browning on the Broncos won’t help the team navigate a nightmare of its creation. Wilson’s future in Denver has been under a microscope since Payton was hired in January 2023.

ESPN reporter Jeff Legwold said “no one in the league” expects the Broncos to retain Wilson this offseason.

“The Broncos have said multiple times, most recently at the Super Bowl, that a formal decision on quarterback Russell Wilson will come ‘sooner rather than later.’ And while almost no one in the league believes that will mean anything other than the Broncos releasing Wilson, doing so would leave plenty of salary cap damage — $85 million in dead money, according to Roster Management System — and an enormous question mark at quarterback,” Legwold wrote on February 15.

According to Jared Koch of Mile High Huddle, Wilson’s contract becomes fully guaranteed for the Broncos on March 17.

Wilson has a $35.4 million cap hit for the 2024 season and would accrue $85 million in dead cap if released before June 1st, per Spotrac.

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