MILE HIGH MONDAY

A decision on Justin Fields will impact the Broncos plans at QB

Feb 19, 2024, 7:25 AM

The NFL wrapped up the Super Bowl last week, and we are a week away from the start of the NFL Scouting Combine. I’m traveling to the Combine this, but this week was a bit slow in terms of news from the league – and I’m okay with that.

I like the tiny break in the action. I was actually able to take one day off – my first day off since July – because this is a slow time in the NFL.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep Wrangler TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

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Steelers Blocking Broncos?

Nobody yet knows what’s going to happen with Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields. The Bears have Fields, a former first-round pick who has yet to fully develop, and they’ve got the No. 11 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. That pick is very likely to be used on USC quarterback Caleb Williams – we just don’t know if the Bears or another team will be making that selection.

The key to the Bears moving off the pick (perhaps with the Broncos?) is what they think of Fields – or what they could get for him in return. There has been reports that Chicago is not going to trade Fields (because that’s what they have to say), but recently there has been speculation that he could wind up in Pittsburgh.

Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin is reportedly a big fan of Fields, and the Steelers should be looking for an upgrade from Kenny Pickett. Fields might fetch the Bears a first-round pick in return, and that’s a price tag Chicago may not turn down. Before we know what the Broncos are going to do, some moves like Fields need to transpire.

I don’t think the Broncos are interested in Fields – as he doesn’t fit what HC Sean Payton wants from his quarterback (timing, rhythm). However, if the Bears get rid of him then they’re taking Williams No. 1 overall. If they stay and take Williams, the teams behind them (like the Washington Commanders and New England Patriots) will either be taking one of the other “big three” college quarterbacks, or they will be asking for even more for the picks. Either way, the Steelers could end up changing plans for the Broncos.

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Win with Winston

Fans are just not on board with the Broncos adding veteran quarterback Jameis Winston this offseason. The New Orleans Saints quarterback knows Payton, and he looked good under the veteran coach. Coming off a season where he threw 30 interceptions, Winston turned his game around and was incredibly safe with the ball under Payton.

We’ll see if the Broncos can make a power move up into the top-five of the NFL Draft, as most around the league expect. If they do, then the need for a guy like Winston is not that high. However, if they end up with a quarterback selected in the second or third round, then Denver will need a guy like Winston. Jarrett Stidham didn’t show the ability to be an effective starter last year, and the team needs an upgrade if they draft a passer who needs time to develop.

Winston is a favorite of his teammates, and he can handle the tough coaching from Payton. He’s got a carefree style, and that blends with Payton’s old-school approach. Winston could step in and win games with Payton. In fact, if tasked with starting most of the regular season, Winston would be able to make the Broncos playoff contenders.

I think Winston gets a bad rap from some. He would be a fine bridge quarterback for the Broncos, but I would like to know who he’s leading to. The caliber of rookie quarterback the Broncos add in the draft will determine how long a bridge quarterback will be necessary. If they move up for Williams, Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels then the bridge won’t be necessary for that long – if at all – as those players should be ready to start in Week 1.

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Cobra Commander

While many fans don’t want Winston, even fewer seem to want Sam Darnold. The San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback, and former first-round pick, is not a popular option when fans are considering who could be a bridge for the Broncos.

Darnold has been inconsistent (at best) so far in his pro career. Most would call him a bust, but Darnold might have rejuvenated his career working under 49ers’ HC Kyle Shanahan. The opinions of Darnold in the fan base are not high, but executives, scouts, and other analysts like me seem to have a higher opinion on him.

If fans do want Darnold, there are some who wouldn’t mind South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler as a potential quarterback of the future. Arguably the most-consistent quarterback at the Senior Bowl practices, Rattler has some momentum heading into the Combine next week. If Rattler impresses in the interview process with teams and tests well, he could work his way into the second-round conversation. At this time, I believe Rattler could go off the board in the third or fourth round. With a good Combine, Rattler should command more attention.

Rattler is a toolsy quarterback, and I like what he’s had to fight through in order to make it this far in his football career. Many players could have given up or blamed others for his career stalling, but Rattler just kept improving and putting in the work through transfer, injuries, etc. We’ll see after the Combine if there’s a better feel for where Rattler is going in this draft.

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Don’t Screw It Up

Nerds like me got some disturbing news over the weekend. Several reporters have gone back-and-forth about Sony’s plans for the upcoming fourth Spider-man movie with Tom Holland as your friendly neighborhood webslinger. Initially, “Spider-man 4” was supposed to be a street-level story under the guidance of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Now, rumors and reports are swirling that Sony wants to do a multi-verse movie that could tie into the next Avengers movie. For those less nerdy than me, the next Avengers series will be the “Secret Wars” story from the comics which is a huge crossover multidimensional story. Both Sony and Marvel need a hit after several movies that missed the mark (most recently Madame Web for Sony and The Marvels in the MCU).

Reporters indicate Marvel wants a street-level story with Spidey battling the Kingpin and likely teaming up with Daredevil. Marvel also doesn’t want Spider-man 4 to release until 2026. Sony, who owns the rights to make Spider-man movies, wants to release the next installment in 2025. This is the ultimate staring contest, but at the end of the day Marvel has no say into what Sony can do. Sony can do what they want, but working against Marvel could mean Holland (and other Spidermen like Tobey Macguire or Andrew Garfield) is left out of the next big Avengers movie.

Are you worried Sony is going to screw up the next Spider-man movie? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

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