Denver Broncos: 5 Options If Peyton Manning Signs Elsewhere

Scotty McGrawCorrespondent IIIMarch 14, 2012

Denver Broncos: 5 Options If Peyton Manning Signs Elsewhere

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    The Broncos may be considered the favorite team to land free agent quarterback Peyton Manning, but it may not pan out the way Denver would want it to.

    Manning is the ultimate free agency prize this offseason, but other teams are intensely pursuing No. 18. The Tennessee Titans will emerge as a dark horse, along with the Miami Dolphins. The Arizona Cardinals are clearly in the mix. Any one of these teams could thwart the Broncos from landing Peyton.

    The Broncos should definitely have a Plan B in mind. It could be sticking with Tim Tebow, drafting a quarterback or signing one. 

Option No. 5: Develop, Groom and Move on with Tim Tebow

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    Tim Tebow threw many awkward throws that spiralled into the dirt last season, but with his work ethic, nobody knows how he'll play in 2012. He could improve drastically with his optimistic mindset, but then again he may not.

    His unconventional playing style made him a source of criticism by fans, the media and the players. Tebow has been trying his best to come back to conventionality, but the chances of that happening are slim to none.

    Anyhow, the Broncos could formulate a week-by-week game plan that implements the read option. All receivers would have to be used somehow to keep the defenses on their toes.

    Tebow is a huge risk-reward type of player that the Broncos will need to consider committing to. Rumor is that the Broncos are going to get rid of Tebow, but if they can't land Manning, they will likely keep him.

Option No. 4: Draft Chandler Harnish in a Late Round

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    NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish is a late-round option that could completely change the Broncos' offense.

    Despite his size—6'2", 221—Harnish is a durable quarterback much like Tebow is. The main difference between Tebow and Harnish is that the upcoming rookie can consistently throw accurate lasers. 

    Harnish will have a few growing pains in his first season if he is a starter. Harnish played in a spread offense while playing for Northern Illinois; however he is extremely smart and will adapt fairly well to the NFL.

    The Broncos' offense would be way more effective with Harnish at the helm rather than Tebow.

Option No. 3: Draft Kirk Cousins in a Middle Round

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    Kirk Cousins is a more developed option, rather than having to groom/develop Harnish or Tebow. 

    He is a second- or third-round pick, but has the potential to be a day one starter. He is a better thrower than Harnish and Tebow, and is worth the price.

    Cousins would enable the Broncos to deal Tebow if they wanted to. Denver could manage as high as a second- or third-round pick in exchange for the former Florida Gator.

    Cousins is a fantastic option for the Broncos' offense. Immediately, the Broncos would be conventional with a perfect run-pass balance. 

Option No. 2: Hop on the Matt Flynn Bandwagon

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    Matt Flynn to the Broncos? Really?

    It very well could happen.

    While the Dolphins are the apparent front-runner to land Flynn, the Broncos could certainly make a move to acquire the one-game wonder.

    You are probably thinking that the Broncos shouldn't pounce on Flynn because he just had one spectacular game (480 yards, six touchdowns), but there are other reasons to sign the free agent quarterback.

    The biggest reason to land Flynn is that he learned from one of the NFL's best players, Aaron Rodgers, for multiple seasons. He got to watch and learn from the Pro Bowler week after week after week.

    Flynn would step in and, like Cousins, lead a balanced attack that would look completely different than Tebow's offense was in 2011.

Option No. 1: Draft Brandon Weeden in a High Round

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    Yes, Brandon Weeden is indeed 28 years old, but he is one helluva quarterback.

    The former professional baseball player came from the spread offense while playing for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, but his nifty footwork makes up for the unconventional offensive philosophy. 

    The Cowboys had a fantastic offense that relied off of the Weeden-Justin Blackmon connection that was highly successful. If Weeden can find a primary target—whether that is Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas or somebody else—he'll be off to the Pro Bowl in no time.

    John Elway, John Fox and Brian Xanders are reportedly very interested in this prospect. Weeden worked out before Bronco officials and went out to dinner with them. 

    Elway, a Hall of Fame quarterback, is clearly interested in improving the quarterback position, and the 28-year-old would automatically do just that.