The Denver Broncos haven't done much in the way of bold moves ever since John Elway and John Fox assumed their current roles as executive vice president and head coach. That's not their style. They didn't blindside everyone by selecting a quarterback in the 2011 draft, instead opting for Von Miller with the No. 2 overall pick. They stayed tight in free agency once that short period opened in later July and early August, signing only Willis McGahee and Ty Warren to multi-year deals (and only two-year deals at that). Spend big on a free agent this year, or even move up in the draft? Probably not. Trade Tim Tebow? Is he dating Kim Kardashian?
OK, we all know by now that Tebow is the starting quarterback entering training camp. He'll certainly be challenged in camp by the veteran they bring in to nominally be his backup. But over at Mile High Sports, James Merilatt thinks the Broncos should trade Tim Tebow now -- "a 'rip off the Band-Aid' move," as he puts it.
Here are the trades Merilatt would like the team to make:
Elway should send Tebow and the 25th-overall pick in April to Jacksonville in exchange for the No. 7 selection in the draft. Then, he should package that pick and other assets (a combination of next year’s No. 1 pick, second-round picks in 2012 and 2013, and/or a rising star like Von Miller) and ship them to St. Louis for the choice that will turn out to be either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III – two guys Elway scouted in person this season and is said to be drooling over.
It's a bold move. Maybe too bold. The Jaguars' owner certainly like Tim Tebow and would likely want to bit on that trade. That part of these dealings I could agree with. I'm neither beholden to Tebow as the Broncos' quarterback nor adamant about replacing him right away. He needs at least one more season before the team really needs to make a decision on, but if a trade came along right now, I'd think about it (and so would Elway and Fox).
It's the second part, about trading a first-round pick, two second round picks and Von Miller, or at least some combination of that, which is bothersome. It's not a king's ransom of three real first-round draft picks that the St. Louis Rams are whispered to seek in any deal. That's a non-starter for many teams, and like it should be for the Broncos.
But if you trade Miller, next year's first-round pick and two second-round picks that's probably the equivalent of at least three first-round picks. That's mortgaging the future all for one player -- yes, potentially a game-changing quarterback in Robert Griffin III (I'm assuming Andrew Luck is off the board to the Indianapolis Colts), but one that could also set back the team for several more years.
From a purely team-construction viewpoint, the Broncos would hurt themselves long-term just for one player. Maybe Griffin does become a top quarterback, but will he be able to carry the team all by himself without the talent around him to make it happen? Lose Von Miller and where's the young defensive leader who will captain that defense? Brian Dawkins is gone and Champ Bailey will follow in a few short years. Miller is that defensive player to fill that leadership role. The Broncos needed a dominant defense more than they need a superstar quarterback. Having both would be nice, but if I had to have one I would want Miller over winding up with Griffin.
But Merilatt does go on to make some good points in favor of why trading Tebow would make sense. Outside of his play on the field, Tebow isn't bringing in all that much extra money for the Broncos through merchandise sales and sell-outs still happen at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, win or lose. In Jacksonville, his hometown, Tebow would bring the fans through the gates. A trade to Jacksonville makes sense. Packaging the Jaguars' 7th overall pick and other pieces, possibly Von Miller, to move up for Griffin? I'm not sold on that part. It's too much of a gamble
The Broncos need to do something bold. Nothing would qualify quite like trading Tim Tebow – a move that should be made, but will be wildly unpopular.
Is John Elway the man to do it? Here’s hoping so. If not, why did he ever come in off the golf course?
I don't know. How many people would consider Dwight D. Eisenhower a bold military commander? He played a steady hand as the Allied supreme commander in the field and mediated different arguments and personalities. Elway is doing that these days, and what's wrong with being like Ike?