ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A week from today, the Denver Broncos open their offseason program and get their first look at a roster under construction.
After need-specific moves in free agency to make additions at quarterback, offensive line and defense, the Broncos will have a group at their suburban Denver complex coach Gary Kubiak has called “a good team, a really good team.’’
But as the draft approaches, and with the possibility of another veteran player or two to be added, this is the first of a one-a-day look at where things stand at the positions that carried the biggest question marks when the offseason opened.
Tuesday: Running back.
Who’s in: The Broncos have two passers on the roster at the moment, given they traded a conditional seventh-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Mark Sanchez and had Trevor Siemian, a seventh-round pick by the team in the 2015 draft.
Sanchez recently played host to several of his new teammates, including Siemian, for some throwing sessions in California, an Alpha Dog move, while Kubiak has said Siemian is poised for “a big jump in how he does things ... he’s got the talent, there’s no doubt.’’
Cap matters: The Broncos have 3.5 percent or so of their salary cap invested at quarterback, a marked difference from most teams with an established starter. Sanchez arrived in the last year of a two-year deal he signed with the Eagles and will count $4.5 million against the cap.
Sanchez does have some potential bonus money connected to playing time and a playoff appearance, which could kick in if he wins the starting job.
Siemian, who is on his rookie contract, will count $583,196 against cap. He played one snap last season, a kneel-down.
Who starts: That's the question for many of the Broncos’ faithful. As it stands, Sanchez has plenty of experience in offenses like the one the Broncos will run and Kubiak has referenced, on several occasions, Sanchez’ familiarity with the concepts in the Broncos’ offense as well as the terminology the team will use.
Given that and 72 career regular-season and six playoff starts, Sanchez will open the team’s offseason work as the starter. It would be wrong for people to underestimate how much the Broncos do think of Siemian and his future, but this is a team that believes it’s still in the Super Bowl conversation.
Unless they make a move, including potentially using a first-round pick on the position, that unseats Sanchez, he is the starter until something is seen on the field that says otherwise.
What’s left to do: The Broncos will not open training camp with two quarterbacks on the roster. Kubiak and executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway have said as much. At least one, possibly two, more are on the way in the weeks to come.
The Broncos are expected to draft a quarterback, potentially in the first two days (rounds 1-3) if the board falls that way.
Elway has selected three quarterbacks in the last five drafts and believes it should be a consideration even when the team’s depth chart at the position is far more crowded than this time around.
The team would still make a deal for Colin Kaepernick if Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers come around to the Broncos’ way of thinking on the matter -- i.e. the 49ers pick up $4.9 worth of Kaepernick’s salary this season and Kaepernick takes a pay cut from $14.5 million in 2017 to $7 million in base salary.
The Broncos don’t figure to come off those numbers, so any deal rests in the willingness of the others to move on the money.
The Broncos will also continue to look at veteran quarterbacks, and with 10 picks still in hand following the trade of Ryan Clady, they can potentially make a deal for a player like Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown.
The feeling around the league is the Browns will look to either trade, or release, McCown before the draft or if they select a quarterback.