While Peyton Manning is still a member of the Denver Broncos, he’s on his last legs as a starter. It’s looking more and more likely that the Broncos will move on from Manning and look to put the franchise’s future into the hands of another quarterback.
Peyton Manning is a legendary player and the 2016 Denver Broncos will be hoping he will be the one to guide them to a Super Bowl title. Although he is an excellent quarterback, he is clearly not the best in the NFL and the Broncos could yet find themselves looking back in disbelief at how they lost over a half a season ago.
A recent article by the NFL Network’s Ian O’Connor about who the Broncos should select in the upcoming NFL Draft showed what many have been saying for a long time: that if you were the Head Coach of the Broncos, what would have been most valuable to you in a new quarterback? Maybe it would be the playmaking ability of a young quarterback, or perhaps you’d prefer a solid veteran passer who can get the ball out of his hand quickly.
Denver Broncos fans have waited nearly a decade to find a suitable successor to Peyton Manning. But what if we told you Matt Ryan could be that quarterback? Sorry, Broncos fans. We know it can be hard to get comfortable with this idea. Please work with us and try to imagine a world that looks much better than reality.
What if the Atlanta Falcons had sold Matt Ryan after the 2015 season?
What would have happened if the Denver Broncos had acquired Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in 2016? | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images Peyton Manning closed out the 2015 NFL season with a Super Bowl ring. Matt Ryan left the team this year with questions about his long-term future in Atlanta. Despite starting the season with five wins in a row, the Falcons went from 6-1 to 8-8 and were eliminated from the playoffs. Ryan has thrown for nine touchdowns against nine interceptions in the Falcons’ last seven games, which have a 2-5 record. On 1. In December 2015, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk openly wondered if the Falcons would try to trade their franchise quarterback. At the time, Atlanta owed Ryan more than $50 million for the next three seasons. As is well known, the Falcons kept Ryan, and there were no credible reports in the spring of 2016 that they were considering a trade. What would happen if the Broncos wanted to make a trade? Denver had salary cap problems and likely would have had to part with Ryan Clady, an injury-prone offensive lineman whose cap hit for 2016 was $10.1 million. Let’s say Denver sends Clady, the 31st pick in the 2016 offseason and a conditional 2017 pick to Atlanta for Ryan. Ryan played the entire 2016 season at the age of 32. When the Eagles traded Donovan McNabb, 33, to Washington in 2010, they received a second-round pick that year and a conditional pick in 2011 that became a fourth-round pick.
Would Ryan resume his career with the Broncos?
Accepting the above deal, the Broncos would essentially trade Clady, quarterback Paxton Lynch, running back Devonta Booker and receiver Carlos Henderson or cornerback Brendan Langley for Ryan. On paper, it would be a bargain. Ryan was named NFL MVP in 2016 after completing 69.9 percent of his passes for 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Of course, the Falcons’ season this year ended with a historic defeat in Super Bowl 51 against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. But Ryan wouldn’t have Kyle Shanahan in Denver. Shanahan, the Falcons’ offensive coordinator in 2016, is widely credited with helping Ryan revive his career. Would Rick Dennison, who worked with Matt Schaub in Houston, have had the same success? Instead of throwing to Julio Jones, Ryan Demarius would have Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders as his primary receivers. Both were Pro Bowl honorees in 2016, with Trevor Siemian being the most hired quarterback. It’s hard to say how much better Ryan would have been had he not had Shanahan and Jones. But in the long run, the Broncos would almost certainly be better off with Ryan than with Simian, Lynch, or just about every quarterback who has played in Denver since Manning left.
Broncos still looking for a quarterback
Ryan is still in great shape at 36 years old, and the new Falcons are optimistic about his future. The team used fourth-round pick tight end Kyle Pitts from Florida in place of the quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft. Surprisingly, the Broncos did not select a quarterback in the draft, which could be a good sign for Drew Lock. The 2019 second-round pick completed 57.3 percent of his passes in 13 starts in 2020, totaling 2,933 yards, 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The 2021 season will mark the sixth anniversary of Manning’s final campaign. Simian failed, Lynch quickly proved a failure, and Joe Flacco was unable to continue his career in Denver. It’s up to Locke now, and he still has time to make up for it. But if he can’t, Broncos fans will have to keep wondering: What if… ? Like Sportscasting on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @sportscasting19 . COMPARED TO: Matt Ryan reveals the truth about how the Falcons made the most important decision in franchise history.
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