The Broncos are one of at least three teams that would love to sign Kirk Cousins this offseason, but they need to have backup plans in place in case they are unable to land the star quarterback. Fans in Denver may not like it, but the team’s best options outside of Cousins could be Case Keenum and Josh McCown.
In his weekly mailbag, Mike Klis of 9 News in Denver reported that the Broncos have interest in Keenum but may not consider him Plan B. If they’re unable to sign Cousins, Klis believes Denver could target one of the big four quarterback prospects — Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield — with their No. 5 overall pick and bring in McCown as a bridge QB.
Keenum is only 30 and led the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game last season, so signing him would require a much longer commitment than the 38-year-old McCown. That’s why it would probably make more sense for the Broncos to sign McCown if they draft one of the top quarterbacks in the draft.
It goes without saying that fans in Denver would be disappointed with any scenario that doesn’t have Cousins taking the snaps for their team next season, so they should probably avoid reading reports like this.
The market for free agent quarterback Case Keenum will, unsurprisingly, reportedly be closely aligned with what happens to Kirk Cousins.
According to Mike Klis of 9News, there are expected to be at least four major suitors for Keenum: the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, and Minnesota Vikings.
There is no Final Four this early. But tentatively, the four teams expected to be in on QB Case Keenum: Broncos, Browns, Cardinals, Vikings, per NFL source. #9sports
— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) March 4, 2018
This is almost identical to the list of teams that will pursue Cousins, with the notable addition of the Browns, who will probably see Keenum as a solid stopgap if they draft a quarterback. For the other three teams, Keenum is probably plan B behind Cousins. Of those, he might prefer to stay right where he was for another season, if he can.
- Case Keenum
The Minnesota Vikings arguably have more decisions to make at the quarterback position this offseason than any other team, and they have apparently already made one difficult one.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media is reporting that the Vikings have decided they will not franchise tag Case Keenum.
The #Vikings are not expected to franchise tag QB Case Keenum and he’s slated to hit free agency, per sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking. Barring a change of heart, Minnesota joins the fray for a starting QB… and will make these next few weeks fascinating.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 26, 2018
Keenum is one of three quarterbacks who were on Minnesota’s roster last season who are set to become free agents. The other two are Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford. Of the three, Bradford seems like the most certain to not be back. The Vikings invested a first-round pick in Bridgewater just four years ago, but his health may always be a question mark after he missed an entire season with a devastating knee injury.
What Keenum did for the Vikings in 2017 is undeniable, as his steady play helped guide them to the NFC Championship Game after Bradford went down early on in the year. However, they may feel that he isn’t worth the salary he is going to command on the open market or the roughly $24 million the franchise tag would cost. Plus, Minnesota is said to be the preferred destination for the top free agent QB who will be available. That could play the biggest role in their decision.
Case Keenum sounds like a man who really wants to stay with the Minnesota Vikings.
Keenum, a free agent at season’s end, said Friday that he feels he has “unfinished business” with Minnesota after their blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC championship.
“We love Minnesota, we love it here, we love the season we had, we definitely feel like there’s some unfinished business with how things ended,” Keenum told 1500ESPN’s Mackey and Judd, via Matthew Coller of 1500ESPN. “At the same time, we understand tough decisions have to be made and so we’ll see what happens.”
After the season he had, Keenum is due a huge payday. He threw for 3,547 yards and 22 touchdowns, going 11-3 as a starter. Of course, he’s on the same team as another quarterback who fully expects a starting role in 2018, so the Vikings will have some very difficult decisions to make in the weeks to come.
- Case Keenum
Philadelphia Eagles fans are not exactly known for showing hospitality to visiting fans and players, and Case Keenum and his family got a first-hand look at that during the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.
Keenum, who threw two interceptions in a 38-7 loss, arranged for some family members to sit in the stands at Lincoln Financial Field to watch his Minnesota Vikings try to clinch a Super Bowl berth. It sounds like Keenum’s family had as much fun in the stands as the quarterback had on the field.
Keenum on how his family was treated in Philly Sunday night: "It was tough. I'm not gonna tell you any stories…there was some situations that were not good. I'm glad I had some of my friends there to intercede. It was tough on everyone, not just us on the field."
— Justin Gaard (@jgkfan) January 23, 2018
Unfortunately, this has become a pattern for the families of visiting players in Philly. In fact, Eagles fans have even been known to go after the family members of their own players, as former linebacker Casey Matthews could tell you. One star quarterback’s family once made the wise decision to hide their team’s colors when they were watching a game in Philadelphia.
Earlier this season, Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson spoke about how hostile things can get at Lincoln Financial Field. He also said NFL rookies are told to keep their families away from road games in Philadelphia. The Super Bowl may not be in Philly, but Eagles fans are sure to make their presence felt in Minneapolis.
The 2017-2018 NFL season is nearing its end with only the Super Bowl left to play. Accordingly, the stamp has been put on the performances for most players and now the debate is on: who was the best, who was the worst, who was over-looked, and who ended up being a letdown?
Here’s a look at 15 of the NFL’s most underrated players in 2017:
15. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
It’s hard to believe Michael Thomas, who has more receptions in his first two seasons than any wide receiver in history, could be considered underrated or overlooked, but it’s become apparent that he is. Thomas finished third among receivers in receptions (104), sixth in yards (1,245), third in first downs (70) and second in PFF grades (93.0), but failed to earn an All-Pro nod and was left off the PFWA All-NFL Team. He was voted into his first Pro Bowl, but he deserves much more recognition.
14. Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts
Jack Doyle made his presence known in 2016, but he still wasn’t really on anyone’s radar outside of Indianapolis entering this season. Despite the lack of attention, Doyle continued a steady progression, finishing second among tight ends in receptions (80), sixth in receiving yards (690), seventh in first downs (34) and 10th in Pro Football Focus grade (77.5). Even with the impressive credentials, Doyle remains underrated and overlooked, failing to earn a Pro Bowl nod, a spot on the AP All-Pro Team or any honors courtesy of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).
13. Blake Martinez, LB, Green Bay Packers
Super Bowl LII will feature the AFC champion New England Patriots and NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles, a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX. Things are very different now. The Eagles, in particular, are a completely different team than they were 13 years ago, and the Patriots have evolved since then.
Of course, two victors on Sunday means two teams are going home. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings came close to reaching the big game, but ultimately they’ll be watching from home instead of participating in it. One team fell at the very end, while the other was comprehensively blown out. The manner of the defeats were different, but the results will have both teams looking back all offseason and wondering what could have been.
Here are eight big disappointments from Sunday’s championship games.
1) Jacksonville’s fourth quarter offense
Given how often the Patriots seem to come back in playoff games, it’s hard to say their opponent is ever in a good position, even when winning. That said, the Jaguars were set up fairly well going into the fourth quarter. On the second play of the quarter, Josh Lambo hit a 43-yard field goal to put the Jags up 10. On the ensuing drive, Myles Jack forced a Dion Lewis fumble with a great play, giving Jacksonville the ball with 13 and a half minutes to go and a 10-point lead to protect.
The Jaguars offense went silent. Perhaps some of it was the New England defense, while there was also a desire to prevent Blake Bortles from turning the ball over. Whatever the case, Jacksonville was too predictable. The first down play was almost always a run, which the Patriots were all over. Bortles missed a few reads as well. The end result was that after the field goal that put them ahead 20-10, the Jags ran 17 plays for a total of 62 yards and failed to score another point. One more well-constructed drive could have made the difference.
2) Minnesota Vikings’ defense