The Denver Broncos have a new coach in Nathaniel Hackett.
And Hackett has his new coaching staff in place.
The next big offseason step for the Broncos could be the sale of the franchise itself. But finding a new owner will be a complex process with the league and the other team owners required to be involved.
That’s why finding a new quarterback is almost certain to be the Orange and Blue’s next major move.
Teddy Bridgewater, who started 14 of the Broncos’ 17 games with decidedly mixed results this past season, is set to be an unrestricted free agent. And Drew Lock, who has had a 4-12 record as a starter with 17 interceptions and 10 fumbles over the last two seasons, doesn’t look to be the answer.
Those partaking in some Broncos betting in Colorado the last two years can attest to that.
That leaves general manager George Paton and the Broncos likely searching for a new starting quarterback. It would be the franchise’s 11th starting QB since Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning retired following the 2015 season.
From trades to free agency to the draft, Paton and Co. have a number of avenues to land a new signal-caller.
Some new QB options are certainly more preferable than others.
And Colorado’s online sports betting apps are starting to weigh in on the possibilities.
Naturally, DraftKings Colorado Sportsbook has the Green Bay Packers favored to retain quarterback Aaron Rodgers at -250.
The Broncos, though, have the next-best odds at +350.
In fact, Denver and the San Francisco 49ers (+800) are the only teams apart from Green Bay with 10-1 or better odds.
Meanwhile, BetMGM Colorado Sportsbook has odds posted on who will take the Broncos’ first snap of the 2022 regular season.
Bridgewater, who still could be re-signed after playing on a one-year contract last season, is listed at +400. Any other quarterback is the second of the two options and is the favorite at -650.
According to BetMGM data analyst John Ewing on Monday, Bridgewater opened as a +500 underdog. But he has received 73.9 percent of the tickets and 64.1 percent of the handle, driving his odds down to +400.
The “other QB” category, meanwhile has gone from an opening -750 to -650.
And that’s the category which contains some exciting possibilities for Broncos Country.
The Rodgers Era may be over in Green Bay
Rodgers has had a legendary 14-season run as the Green Bay Packers’ starting quarterback.
He’s posted a .663 winning percentage and has garnered four league MVP awards, including back-to-back honors the last two seasons.
Rodgers also has piloted the Pack to eight division tiles and 11 playoff berths in those 14 seasons. That includes five NFC Championship Game appearances and a Super Bowl title.
Still, there’s a definite sense of disappointment these days on the frozen tundra.
Despite all of their regular season success, the Packers haven’t been to the Super Bowl in 11 seasons. They’ve posted a 7-9 postseason record during that span.
Reports of Rodgers’ dissatisfaction with the organization’s structure and direction have been widely circulated over the last year.
And even though the 38-year-old Rodgers hasn’t publicly campaigned for a trade, he hasn’t exactly slammed on the door on the speculation, either. Even his 2021 NFL MVP acceptance speech could be construed as a good-bye to Green Bay.
So is Rodgers destined for Denver?
The Rodgers-to-Denver rumors were rampant last spring before cooling off.
And now Hackett — a Rodgers favorite as the Packers’ offensive coordinator the last three seasons — is running the show in the Mile High City. Justin Outten, Green Bay’s tight ends coach the last three seasons, is the Broncos’ new offensive coordinator.
MaximBet Colorado certainly likes the fit. The sportsbook has posted odds on Rodgers’ Week 1 team for the 2022 season if he departs Green Bay, and the Broncos are the clear front-runners atop the list at +400.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (+700), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+700) and 49ers (+900) are the only other teams with better than 10-1 odds. The Steelers and Bucs are in the QB market after the retirements of veterans Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady, respectively.
The MaximBet futures prop text notes that if Rodgers opens the 2022 regular season with the Packers, all bets are void.
“If there ultimately is a trade for Aaron Rodgers, I don’t think the Packers are going to send him to another NFC team,” MaximBet head trader Lenny Estrin told PlayColorado. “The Broncos have long been favored at our book for a few reasons. For one, they have the draft capital to entice Green Bay’s front office. Toss them the first, both seconds and maybe a third, which is a steep asking price, and that may be enough to get the transaction done.
“I’m not sure adding Aaron Rodgers immediately makes the Broncos a Super Bowl contender, but their odds certainly would improve. They are currently 20-1 and we’d probably drop them to 12-1 or 14-1 with Rodgers on the roster.”
As Estrin noted, even the mere thought of Rodgers in Denver as improved the Broncos’ Super Bowl odds. Most of the sportsbooks currently have them in the range to win the Lombardi Trophy next February.
Broncos a longer shot to land Russell Wilson
Trading for current Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is another possibility for the Broncos.
Much like Rodgers’ situation in Green Bay, insider reports say Wilson’s relationship with the Seahawks has soured some of late.
Wilson quarterbacked Seattle to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 2013 and ’14. But the Seahawks haven’t made it to the NFC title game since, winning only three playoff contests over the last seven seasons.
Hence, it’s not inconceivable that the 33-year-old Wilson, a nine-time Pro Bowler, and Seattle could part ways this offseason. They’ve spent a decade together after Wilson was selected by Seahawks in the third round of the 2012 draft.
MaximBet has the Steelers and Bucs — each at +600 — as the most likely 2022 destinations for Wilson if he’s traded. The New Orleans Saints (+700), Washington Commanders (+700) and Miami Dolphins (+800) have the next-best odds.
They’re sixth on the list, tied with the Indianapolis Colts at +900.
Like the Rodgers prop, if Wilson opens the 2022 regular season with the Seahawks, all wagers are void.
“Wilson’s potential destinations feel a bit more up in the air,” Estrin says. “For starters, I think it’s more likely we see Rodgers traded (or retire) than we see Wilson change teams.
“But if he does, doesn’t it feel like a Mike Tomlin/Russell Wilson duo would be a massive force of moxie to be reckoned with? But in all seriousness, the Steelers have the defense built to win now. The offense is talented and while the line isn’t anything to write home about, Wilson can move like Big Ben used to be able to.
“(The Steelers don’t) have a ton of picks to offer, but they still have their first, second and third (selections) so that could be enough.”