Gary Kubiak decision bad news for Case Keenum in Denver

By Jesse Reed

The Denver Broncos were all set to have Gary Kubiak serve as the offensive coordinator under Vic Fangio…until they weren’t.

As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the two sides ended up coming to the agreement that Kubiak would not serve in this capacity in 2019. Ian Rapoport of NFL media added that the two sides had some disagreements about assistants and overall direction.

So, how does all this tie into Case Keenum?

Well, Kubiak was Keenum’s greatest supporter in Denver. He’s a big reason why the Broncos ended up signing the quarterback last spring, and if he had been the offensive coordinator it would have been easy to surmise that Keenum would have remained on the roster to at least compete for the starting job next year.

Now? Not so much.

It’s worth noting that Keenum was mediocrity defined this past season for the Broncos. Starting in all 16 games, he completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 3,890 yards (No. 14 in the NFL) with 18 touchdowns (No. 23) and 15 interceptions (tied for second-worst mark in the league).

So, even before the Kubiak news, Keenum was on thin ice.

The Broncos can save $11 million against the cap by releasing Keenum, who is due $21 million but has a $10 million dead cap hit on his contract.

They also have the No. 10 overall pick in the first round. As we’ve detailed in the past, Denver is one of a handful of teams in prime position to make a bold move up to the top of the draft for a quarterback. The two obvious names that could entice John Elway to make such a move are Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray. Then there’s the possibility that Denver falls in love with Drew Lock or Daniel Jones.

No matter who it is, it seems very likely that Denver will now set its eyes on an offensive coordinator that’s willing to evolve with the times. It’s just as likely that the Broncos are going to look long and hard at either trading up for their top rookie or hoping the guy they love falls in their lap at No. 10 overall.

Keenum might stay. But even if he does, he’s going to be on a crazy short leash. With Kubiak out of the picture as far as the offense is concerned, it won’t be surprising in the least if he ends up being the odd man out or is let go altogether.