If Trevor Siemian can continue to play the way he did Monday Night, the Broncos should consider an early long term contract extension.
The Denver Broncos kicked off their 2017 season Monday night in a thrilling 24-21 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. While only being one game, it was a good debut for this Denver Broncos offense. In particular, Trevor Siemian looked like a different player then he did during the 2016 campaign.
He showed something against the Chargers that he didn’t show once a year ago: growth.
Now it is easy to overreact to one good performance, so lets preface this point by saying this level of play needs to continue until at least the bye week. However, if Siemian can show that this wasn’t just a one game ordeal; if he can continue to display the mobility he showed on Monday night; if he can continue to grow in manipulating a defense with his eyes and not just staring down one receiver; if he can show the moxie to bounce back from a bad play; if he can show a willingness to take shots down the field as opposed to constantly opting for the safe check down throw; if he can continue to show growth, John Elway should seriously consider offering Siemian a new contract.
Why would Elway do such a thing? He drafted Paxton Lynch in the first round. Two years running they have hosted an open quarterback competition. The Broncos did literally everything they could to allow Paxton Lynch the opportunity to come in and take this job from Trevor.
From an outside perspective, it doesn’t appear that they have a whole lot of belief in Trevor Siemian, so why are they all of the sudden going to offer him a contract after four weeks? Well, like a lot of us (yes I’m talking about ME) the Broncos probably didn’t see this coming.
Here’s the thing: All the word coming out of OTA’s was that Siemian was the same guy; a check-down machine who wasn’t willing to make the necessary throws to win football games. He was frustrating his offensive coaches because he just didn’t want to take chances. The start of training camp was the same deal — he wasn’t good.
Even into the first preseason game against the Bears, he did nothing special to indicate that he could be the quarterback of the future. Sure, he had easily outplayed Paxton Lynch, but with the way Lynch imploded after the first few days of camp, that wasn’t going to be hard to do.
It’s funny that after that game, Lynch had his best week of practice and Siemian was almost an afterthought. Paxton was just going to come in and steal this at the 11th hour, just like the Broncos had planned right? Perhaps that upset Trevor and lit a fire under him.
After all, he did lead the Broncos to a winning record in 2016 as a first year starter. He had clearly outclassed the other guy in the competition for three straight weeks. Why did he have to go so above and beyond to get this job? It was time for him to take a stand, and prove why they need to give him the job.
Perhaps this fire also coincided with the playbook starting to become second nature. A combination of familiarity, and playing angry sparked a new Trevor. Once he came into the 49ers game, he was a completely different player. Yes, Trevor had a rough start against the Packers, but then bounced back with a very good drive and was overall solid the rest of the way.
Monday Night Football got off to another rough start for Trevor. Perhaps he was nervous, but he was back to staring down receivers and looking generally uncomfortable. Then came the should-have-been pick six—a horrible throw that should have resulted in a Chargers touchdown.
That could have broke him, but maybe it snapped him out of it. Maybe he remembered how badly they wanted Lynch to beat him out. Perhaps he understood that his leash wasn’t as long as Vance Joseph had indicated it would be. But he bounced back.
After that, he was great. He was using his eyes, throwing to the middle of the field, checking in and out of plays, and truly playing quarterback. That is what we have all wanted to see out of Trevor Siemian.
If he can continue to grow (and stay healthy), John Elway needs to get ahead of this now. He has a precedent for this, and he also has a precedent for not doing it. He got out in front of Chris Harris Jr. and Derek Wolfe. He saw guys he wanted as long term Broncos, and they opted for the security instead of testing the market.
Every good game Siemian puts on film, his price tag goes up. But if you can get to him now, you can probably get a great value for a starting quarterback on a second contract.
I’m not sure what it would take to get it done at this point, but I have an idea.
Consider this fact too: After this year, Trevor Siemian, for his career, still won’t eclipse Paxton Lynch’s first year earnings. If Elway were to go to Siemian and offer a three year extension, on top of his final year next year, somewhere in the neighborhood of $30-33 million. The guarantees in the contract would be around $20 million, with $10 million up front at signing and a guaranteed salary for the 2019 season. For someone who has barely made a million dollars in three years, a $10 million direct deposit into his bank account would be incredibly tough to pass up, considering he would have to wait until the end of next season before he could hit the market.
From the Broncos’ perspective, there isn’t a lot of risk in a deal like this. Getting a starting quarterback for $10-11 million a year is mostly unheard of, and with a modest signing bonus, it doesn’t leave a lot of dead-cap ramifications should he regress and the Broncos have to go a different route. Additionally, if he does continue to grow into a Pro-Bowl level player or above, you have him under contract through 2021 at a below-market deal. If he doesn’t pan out, they can always move on after 2019 with very little long-term damage.
From Siemian’s perspective, it is a little bit different. What this deal will offer Trevor is security. If he decides to wait it out, it could be a real gamble.
Trevor is a seventh round pick making the absolute lowest amount a draft pick could possibly make, and will continue to make that for not only this year, but next year as well. Taking this deal now would allow him to cash in for 20 times what he’s made to this point in his career, guaranteed.
If he regresses, he’s at least made some money, and then can play for backup money the rest of his career. But it’s also a short enough deal that he will still be 29 going into the final year of his deal, and therefore still able to cash in on a mega-deal down the line if he does work out. It’s his surest path to complete financial security for the rest of his life
The Broncos did not go this route a few years ago with Brock Osweiler, as Osweiler played his way to a deal far richer than the Broncos were willing to pay and it cost them. Had they gone to Brock early in the 2015 season, it would have been much easier to get him on to a much more team-friendly deal like they would hope to with Siemian.
I am certainly not advocating that Siemian, after one game is going to be a superstar. I am also not advocating to go out and pay him starting quarterback money either. I am advocating that it could be a good idea from a future planning perspective to continue to get good value at the quarterback position for years to come, and the way to do that is to be proactive.
If Siemian does blossom into a star by years end, and you have no deal, it’s going to be a lot harder to lock him up on a very team-friendly deal as it would be early. We’ll see how the Broncos decide to play this, so stay tuned.