Keenum signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings before the 2017 season and began a stint as backup to Sam Bradford. With Bradford sidelined, Keenum took over in week 2 and made 14 starts for the Vikings. He obliterated his career highs with 3,547 yards and 22 touchdowns, leading the Vikings to a 13-3 final record and the second round of the NFL playoffs. It was a breakout season for the 30-year old and elevated his value entering free-agency for the 2018 season.
Ahead of the April draft, the Broncos made Keenum their marquee free-agent target and signing, inking the QB to a 2-year, $36 million deal.
Given Keenum’s past performance and the salary he commanded from a traditionally shrewd John Elway, it’s difficult to understand how the Texas native hasn’t been a more sought-after solution for a quarterback starved league.
It could boil down to just a couple of factors. Keenum is 6’1″, considered small for an NFL quarterback. For comparison, the Broncos last few quarterback acquisitions were:
Paxton Lynch – 6’7″
Trevor Siemian – 6’3″
Peyton Manning – 6’5″
Brock Osweiler – 6’7″
It’s not a Broncos thing, it is a league trend. There’s certainly precedent for undersized quarterbacks (Brees) but they are certainly not coveted.
The University of Houston has a reputation going back to the ’80’s and Andre Ware for high octane, run-and-gun offense. There have been several quarterbacks that put up astronomical numbers but flamed-out in the NFL. The aforementioned Kevin Kolb comes to mind as well as David Klingler. It’s given the Cougars a reputation for unreliable numbers and soured scouts on their offensive skill players.
However Case Keenum ended up in Denver it looks like the Broncos have made a solid move to improve play at the position. Keenum has improved every year he’s been in the league and with the starting job all but guaranteed for the next two seasons, he has security and stability to grow further.
It should be an exciting run for a much-improved Denver offense this season. I’m looking forward to Keenum’s debut in the blue-and-orange.