ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The biggest piece of the Broncos' offseason plan settled in place Thursday when Case Keenum officially signed a two-year contract to become Denver's new starting quarterback.
That agreement ended any chance of an offseason quarterback competition, identified a leader for Denver's locker room and, perhaps most importantly, instantly gave the Broncos flexibility in the upcoming NFL Draft.
President of Football Operations/General Manager has said repeatedly that he prefers to fill positions of need during free agency and select the best player available in the draft.
Keenum's signing certainly gives Elway that opportunity.
When the Broncos are on the clock with the fifth-overall selection, they'll no longer be forced to select a quarterback in order to improve the position.
"We have a lot of opportunities at five now," Elway said Friday. "We're in a good spot. We're high in a lot of rounds. As I said, it's going to be important for us to find guys that can help our football team. We'll continue to work [on] that. We still have to go through the free-agency side. Once we get into our draft meetings the first of April, then we'll start looking at all of the different ways we could possibly go there."
Denver could still end up choosing a quarterback with its first-round pick, but the option to choose will be key.
After the New York Jets swapped first-round picks with the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday, there's a very real chance that quarterbacks could be taken with each of the first three picks.
The Broncos will continue to evaluate this year's crop of quarterback prospects, but with Keenum on the roster, they won't be required to get in a bidding war in order to move up and secure a quarterback.
Instead, they could choose to move up, stay put at No. 5 and select an impact player or trade back and amass more picks.
Just don't ask Elway to reveal who he will target with the fifth-overall pick.
When asked by ESPN's Jeff Legwold whether he would consider taking guard Quenton Nelson at No. 5, Elway remained tight-lipped.
"I can't tell you that. I'd have to kill you," Elway joked.