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John Elway, Denver Broncos once tried to trade for a specific QB in 2018 NFL Draft, but New York Giants didn’t listen

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The Denver Broncos are once again looking for a new starting quarterback, just two years after trading the farm for Russell Wilson. For the Broncos, this is nothing new. They’ve been trying to fill the cleats left by Peyton Manning since 2015. Before then, it was trying to fill John Elway’s job, left vacant after 1998.

Crazily enough, both Hall of Fame quarterbacks walked off into the sunset, retiring after winning another Super Bowl. But the Broncos? They were left gasping for air. Yet, it’s not like the Broncos haven’t tried to solve their QB woes, most recently with Wilson, but there was another time when Denver was prepared to take a big swing.

Denver Broncos targeted Sam Darnold, but Giants GM Dave Gettleman wouldn’t answer his phone on draft day

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

After 2017, the Denver Broncos were just coming off a 5-11 season that saw Trevor Siemian finish as their leading passer. This left the Broncos in desperate need of a more capable replacement. Once free agency began, they turned to the man who helped create the Minneapolis Miracle, Case Keenum. The Broncos wanted to see if Keenum could re-create the magic he experienced with the Vikings, and inked him to a two-year, $36 million contract.

Keenum ended up starting all 16 games for the Broncos, but he led them to just a 6-10 record. Yet, it sounds like the Broncos were trying to add Keenum to be either a short-term stopgap solution or possibly even used to help teach a first-round quarterback who could end up taking over the starting job as a rookie.

In fact, according to NFL insider Connor Hughes, that’s exactly what the Broncos were planning during the 2018 NFL Draft. In a recent appearance on WFAN Sports Radio, Hughes discussed how he later learned that John Elway, the GM of the Broncos at the time, tried to trade up to the No. 2 overall pick, to select Sam Darnold out of USC.

Only the New York Giants, who held the second overall pick, weren’t willing to negotiate. In fact, then Giants GM David Gettleman reportedly didn’t even pick up the phone because they were so locked in on selecting Saquon Barkley instead. Keep in mind, there hasn’t been another running back drafted that high ever since.

In the end, the Broncos may not have been happy with Darnold either, as there’s a reason he’s on his third NFL team since being drafted. Then again, who knows? Maybe the situation could have turned out differently had he had a different opportunity in Denver, instead of in New York, who also hasn’t been able to find a long-term franchise solution.

For the record, the Broncos stood pat at No. 5, and selected Bradley Chubb, who’s developed into a Pro Bowl edge rusher, but even he’s not in Denver anymore. The biggest blunder of this draft for the Broncos was ignoring Wyoming QB Josh Allen, who has since developed into an MVP candidate and a player some have even compared to Elway himself. Allen was selected after the Buffalo Bills traded up to No. 6, just one pick after Denver took Chubb. That one has to sting.

Related: NFL QB rankings

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