ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos went into the offseason in search of a long-term solution at quarterback.
They said Case Keenum was their "target" all along. They said Keenum was the right guy for what he's done on the field -- especially in 2017, when he threw for 3,547 yards with the Minnesota Vikings -- and for what they believe he'll do for their chemistry off the field.
Then they signed Keenum to a two-year deal. And "two" and "long-term" don't often appear in the same NFL sentence.
But both Keenum and the Broncos believe it could all blossom into more if both sides get what they hope for in all of this.
"First of all, we want to be here long-term," is how Keenum put it. "My wife and I love it already. We want to play the rest of my career here; there's no doubt about that. I think the two years is an opportunity for me to continue to prove myself as a starting quarterback, as a franchise quarterback and as someone that a team and a franchise can count on."
The two-year, $36 million deal gives the Broncos some salary cap flexibility that they wouldn't have had with a three- or four-year deal. If Keenum plays as well as they hope, they can dive in and try to extend the deal at some point late in the 2019 season or in the weeks after that season.
It also gives Keenum a chance to put two quality seasons together and either do another deal with the Broncos or head into the free-agent market having just turned 32.
The Vikings went 11-3 in his 14 starts and Keenum entered the open market in demand -- the Broncos signed him in the opening hours of free agency.
"I think (the two-year deal) made the most sense for my agents and I, and the deal they put together was great," Keenum said. "For me, I've earned everything I've gotten. Nothing has ever been handed to me and I want to continue to earn everything from this point on. It made the most sense, and I couldn't be more thrilled at how it has turned out."
The Broncos, currently sitting at No. 5 in the first round, have not ruled out using their top pick on a quarterback. There are four quarterbacks at the top of the draft board -- Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen. If one or more are still on the board, the Broncos could listen to trade offers even as they consider taking a quarterback themselves.
Or the Broncos could take one of the draft's best players who is not a quarterback. That list would include NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley or Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson.
"We have a lot of opportunities at five now," Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway said. "We're in good spots. We're high in a lot of rounds. As I said, it's going to be important for us to find guys that can help our football team."