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Case Keenum is joining his fifth team in five years and the Denver Broncos are turning to their fifth quarterback since Peyton Manning retired 24 months ago.
General manager John Elway called Keenum “a great fit for us'' after the sixth-year pro parlayed a breakout year in Minnesota into a two-year, $36 million deal with Denver on March 14.
“Along with that experience,'' Elway said, “his leadership and competitiveness are what you look for in a quarterback.''
Elway, by the way, isn't done looking at quarterbacks.
Elway and coach Vance Joseph were in Norman, Oklahoma, checking out Baker Mayfield's pro day when free agency opened March 14. Then, the next day, they were headed for Los Angeles to watch Josh Rosen's pro day at UCLA.
The Broncos were busy when free agency opened, keeping linebacker Todd Davis (three years, $15 million); adding cornerback Tramaine Brock (one year, $4 million); finalizing Aqib Talib's trade to the Los Angeles Rams; and moving quarterback Trevor Siemian to the Vikings.
Besides Mayfield and Rosen, other potential, long-term fixes for franchises with quarterback quandaries include Wyoming's Josh Allen, USC's Sam Darnold, Louisville's Lamar Jackson and Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph.
Coming off a career-changing season, Keenum was widely considered the second-most attractive veteran QB on the market behind Cousins. And he is a player the Broncos know well because Gary Kubiak, now the Broncos' senior personnel adviser, had him for two seasons while Kubiak was head coach of the Houston Texans.
“Case is perfect for our team, both as a player and as a person,'' said Joseph, who also worked for the Texans. “He's playing the best football of his career right now and has gotten better with every opportunity he's had. Being around him in Houston, Case is a tremendous person and teammate with strong leadership skills and a terrific work ethic. He'll be great in our locker room.''
Keenum, who made $2 million last year, went 11-3 in place of an injured Sam Bradford, leading the Vikings to the NFC championship game.
He threw for more than 3,500 yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His signature moment was that last-second 61-yard touchdown toss to Stefon Diggs that stunned the Saints 29-24 in the playoffs.
The Broncos haven't been back to the playoffs since Manning retired following Denver's 24-10 triumph over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 two years ago.
They've cycled through Mark Sanchez, Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch, while going a combined 14-18.
The Broncos, coming off a 5-11 season, were considered an early front-runner to land Cousins. Minnesota, however, had a sparkling stadium, new state-of-the-art training facility, stacked roster and coaching stability to offer him, while the Broncos' main magnet was Von Miller.
Even though he issued a public plea for Cousins to join him in Denver, Miller is welcoming Keenum to town .
“Looks/Feels right to me!'' Miller said in an Instagram post. “We got what we were looking for! Franchise QB that's the perfect fit for DENVER! (at)johnelway with the deep 3 pointer! Like always! Leeettttss Goooo!!! (at)casekeenum7 (at)casekeenum7 Time for me to hold up my end of the deal now!''
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