ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- April 1 has arrived with the usual bevy of fake news stories and April Fools' Day punch lines that traditionally reel in a few trusting, ambushed souls along the way.
In that vein, it’s an opportune time to look at some of what’s happened in the Denver Broncos’ offseason and separate April fact from April Fools'.
The quarterback depth chart: It’s an April fact that the Broncos will add at least one more passer to the depth chart, and likely two more, but it’s also a bottom-line fact that Denver would be more than willing to open training camp with Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian and a draft pick to be selected later (this month) on the field.
Sanchez II: It’s also an April fact that the Broncos feel better about Sanchez’s potential in their offense, along with Siemian’s development, than those who say the team needs another proven veteran quarterback. That doesn’t mean the Broncos won’t add another veteran passer who fits the budget -- keep an eye on the Browns' Josh McCown, because while his cap figure is over $5 million for the season, many in the league believe the team will release him. That said, the Broncos' decision-makers keep using the words “patience" and “our pace" when they talk about quarterbacks.
Colin Kaepernick: It is an April Fools' sentiment that the Broncos, with $1.62 million of salary-cap space, ever could, or should, simply add the remaining five years of Kaepernick’s contract in a trade. The contract is, and has been from the start, the biggest consideration in any discussion about adding him to Denver's roster. It would take plenty of cap gymnastics simply to make the deal; the Broncos would have to release multiple players or redo multiple contracts just to get Kaepernick’s $15.89 million salary-cap charge for the 2016 season under their cap. It also means that Kaepernick would have to agree to pretty much restructure the remaining five years of the contract, which includes a guaranteed $11.9 million base salary for the coming season. Couple that with the fact that Kaepernick is coming off three surgeries and it all represents a high-priced question mark. And if the Broncos were to do everything it would take to add him, they had better be sure he's a possible long-term solution, because they would have to jettison other players to do it.
Free-agent departures: It is an April Fools' notion that the Broncos, or any other team, can’t replace players who depart in free agency with draft picks. Good teams do it all the time. And in the Broncos' case, the notion is illogical given that the departures that have caused the most hand-wringing among the team's faithful were Denver picks: Malik Jackson was a fifth-round draft pick, Danny Trevathan was a sixth-round pick, Brock Osweiler was a second-round pick and David Bruton Jr. was a fourth-round pick. Draft and develop, rinse and repeat.
No-shows: It’s an April fact that when the Broncos open their offseason program on April 18, they will be prepared for the possibility that linebackers Von Miller -- whom Denver used the franchise player tag on -- and Brandon Marshall -- who was given a second-round tender as a restricted free agent -- won't be participating. The team’s past two position players with the franchise tag -- Ryan Clady and Demaryius Thomas -- skipped the entire offseason program, OTAs and minicamp. Marshall has told multiple teammates he is considering staying away in hopes of landing a long-term deal. That will cause some ripples in the pond, since John Elway expressed plenty of frustration last year when Thomas stayed away, offering last April that there was "zero value" in Thomas skipping the workouts when the wide receiver carried the franchise player tag. Once again, a team with $1.62 million of cap room will need a significant creative solution to make everybody happy, including the team’s decision-makers.
And with the ...: And it's an April fact that when the draft is said and done, the Broncos would like to have, among their 10 picks (at the moment): a quarterback, a defensive end who can push for playing time immediately, another tackle, a running back and a safety who could play in a pinch.