WASHINGTON – Washington’s NFL team has agreed to a trade with the Denver Broncos for quarterback Case Keenum, who has one year remaining on his contract.
Washington will send a sixth-round pick in the 2020 draft and receive a 2020 seventh-round pick, said ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday.
The league year begins on March 13, so the trade cannot be officially processed until then.
Keenum is in the second year of a two-year, $36 million deal, though his contract will be reworked for the trade, and Washington is expected to pay Keenum $3.5 million for the upcoming season.
While the trade doesn’t involve much risk, many analysts have blasted Washington for not making a bigger move.
Washington Post Columnist Jerry Brewer called Keenum an “okay stopgap,” and added that the team continues to “perpetuate mediocrity.”
The Broncos were looking to trade Keenum after they agreed to a trade for quarterback Joe Flacco earlier in the offseason.
“We’re definitely disappointed, it’s not something we wanted to happen,” Keenum said on ESPN after learning the Broncos had traded for Flacco.
Keenum was supposed to provide the Broncos with short-term relief but that didn’t happen, said Denver Post reporter Ryan O’Halloran, who added that the move would help Denver, saving $14.5 million from the team’s salary cap.
Keenum had a breakthrough season with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017, throwing 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also led the Vikings to a playoff victory, but struggled with Denver last season, throwing 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Denver ended the season with a 6-10 record.
The trade leaves Washington with three quarterbacks. Starter Alex Smith suffered a compound fracture in his leg last season. He also dealt with infections following the injury and needed multiple surgeries for infections in addition to surgery for the initial injury.
Washington has not announced whether or not there is a possibility Smith will play next season.
“This is an injury that’s tough to overcome, but you also don’t know Alex and what he can do with his mind and what he can overcome,” Jay Gruden, Washington’s coach, said on ESPN. “Will he be ready next year or the year after? I don’t know. We’ll play it by ear.”
Last season was the first of a four-year, $94 million contract for Smith, after Washington signed him to replace quarterback Kirk Cousins, who signed with Minnesota after serving as Washington’s starter for three consecutive seasons.
The other quarterback on Washington’s roster is Colt McCoy, who also broke his leg last season. His injury was less severe than Smith’s and he has recovered from it.
McCoy has spent the majority of his career as a backup and has thrown 29 touchdowns but also has 26 interceptions. He is signed for one more season.
McCoy has only started in 27 games in nine seasons since being drafted but has dealt with many injuries, including missing time for a neck injury in 2014 and a concussion in 2011.
After Smith’s injury, Washington went on to start three different quarterbacks over the team’s final six games. If Smith is unable to play next season, Washington’s quarterback situation remains murky, and Keenum could end up going into the season as their starter.
“We’re optimistic, if anyone can come back it’s Alex…we’ll see,” Washington’s team president, Bruce Allen, told NBC Sports.