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Elway prefers Keenum returns, as a backup QB

INDIANAPOLIS – John Elway was not able to talk about the new starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos on the opening day, but said his "preference" was to bring back Case Keenum for the team.

The Broncos have the framework of an exchange in place to acquire Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens as a quarterback from Denver, but the team can not yet recognize the deal and the trade only becomes unofficial before the opening of the free agency market on March 13th.

Thus, Elway, as president / CEO of Broncos football operations, spent most of his public discussion Wednesday about the team's quarterback situation, explaining how Keenum could play the role. substitute. Elway spoke to Keenum by phone after the trade for Flacco became public, and one of the scenarios evoked was Keenum's return to the Broncos.

Keenum signed a $ 36 million, two-year deal last March.

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"Well, the contract must be adjusted, first and foremost, and that will depend on it," Elway said Wednesday. "It will depend on what he wants to do.As I told him on the phone, we will work with him and it's up to him to decide what he wants to do."

Elway also added "My preference is to let him stay (with the Broncos) … I would like Case to come back because I think it's a good football player who could help us." given this flexibility to Case. "

Elway also said on Wednesday that neither Keenum nor his representatives had asked to find a business partner, but "if they did, we would do it."

Keenum appeared earlier this month on Jason Romano's "Sports Spectrum" podcast and discussed the Flacco trade.

"Elway called me this morning and we had a great conversation, that he did not have to do, and I enjoyed that," Keenum said. "I was really shocked, it was a surprise for us and, you know, I think probably for the first day or so, it's a little what it was." For us, we are definitely disappointed – this is not something I know everyone is doing their job and John thinks it was a chance for him to help the Broncos. & ## 39; & # 39;

Keenum spoke of his past with the Broncos in the past, he said, "My time with the Broncos was really special – I enjoyed every second, I was so proud to walk in this building. .. to represent the Broncos as their quarterback … It was an honor. "

Behind a battered offensive line – three offensive linemen who started the Broncos games last season ended up on an injured reserve – Keenum was inconsistent, finishing with 3,890 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 steals. Keenum's 15 interceptions were tied for the league's second-highest total, and he finished in the last 10 of the NFL in Total QBR.

It is expected that Keenum will count $ 21 million in the Broncos salary cap for the 2019 season, more than the $ 18.5 million Flacco salary cap in 1919. The Broncos must also pay Keenum 7 million dollars on his base salary of $ 18 million, whether he is registered or not.

The savings on salary caps if Keenum is released ($ 11 million) and the "amount of the dead money" – salary cap charge for a player no longer on the list – of $ 10 million are about the same. The Broncos also have the No. 10 in the draft.

Also Wednesday, Elway said the Broncos would exercise options in broad receiver contracts Emmanuel Sanders and defender Derek Wolfe. Sanders ($ 12.938 million) and Wolfe ($ 10.925 million) will have the fourth and fifth highest salary ceilings within the team in 2019, following the official addition of Flacco's contract.

Sanders, who was injured in the Achilles tendon in December, is guaranteed $ 1.5 million if his option is exercised, but Elway said he "would like" Sanders to play a major role in the offensive. next season.

"The only concern is a wide receiver coming from an Achilles," Elway said. "There is everything I love about Emmanuel Sanders and he would be a valuable asset to us, but the question is how will he get out of it, Achilles at age 31?" # 39;

Wolfe has a bonus of $ 1 million.

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