It’s difficult to feel sorry for a player who recently signed a two-year, $36 million contract with $25 million guaranteed. But come NFL Draft day two weeks hence, that might be how we’ll feel about Case Keenum if John Elway selects Denver’s future franchise quarterback.
Give credit to Keenum’s agent for an excellent negotiating job with a Denver contract that virtually ensures him one season as the starter. He then has $7 million of his 2019 salary guaranteed, so he could be the Broncos’ starter or an expensive backup in Year 2, but even if he’s released, he’ll be in great shape financially as he seeks a new team.
Elway has always been enamored with big, strong-armed quarterbacks, so it’s possible he will try to select one who fits that mold among Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen or Josh Allen. Elway could either trade up from Denver’s No. 5 spot in the first round or sit tight and hope the QB he likes best will fall to him.
If Elway does indeed pick up one of the top-rated QBs on April 26, that would place Keenum in deja-vu land. Remember, after the Rams traded a boatload of picks and jumped up to the top spot in the 2016 NFL Draft for Jared Goff, Keenum eventually was bumped out of the starting role.
Meanwhile, an 800 percent raise is a nice consolation prize for Keenum after his former team looked elsewhere. It seems that only in the crazy world of sports contracts can a player cash in as Keenum did after one big year that ended with a disappointing playoff loss. In fact, if not for the Minneapolis Miracle play that beat the Saints in the divisional playoffs, there would be more talk of an underwhelming postseason tarnishing his excellent regular season.
He is a strict 4-3 tackle prospect and won’t provide much in terms of inside pass rush, but his stock has been on the rise, as his determination can allow him to play bigger than his size. Ford’s plugging could benefit from Rod Marinelli’s coaching enough for him to become a consistent part of the Cowboys’ early-down rotation.