Denver signs a backup for Manning

Jay Cutler’s former backup is going to Cutler’s former team.

ESPNChicago.com is reporting that the Denver Broncos have signed former Chicago quarterback Caleb Hanie — who played collegiately at Colorado State — to a two-year deal.

Hanie, 26, played well in relief of Cutler in the NFC title game in the 2010 season. However, he was dreadful as Cutler’s injury replacement in 2011, going 0-4 as a starter. The Broncos like the mobile, athletic Hanie because they think he is a better fit for their offense than he was for Mike Martz’s in Chicago.

I thought the Broncos would try to sign a more experienced veteran like recent San Diego cut Billy Volek. The Broncos talked to Volek, but were more interested in Hanie.

Hanie will be the man in Denver if Peyton Manning – who missed the entire 2011 season with a neck injury – can’t play. The Broncos are convinced Manning will be fine.

Let’s face it: The Broncos will be dire straits if Manning, 36, misses a huge chunk of time, regardless of who is the backup. In Hanie, Denver gets a player it thinks can adjust to its system. Watch for Denver to perhaps add a quarterback in some point in the draft.