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How Jimmy Garoppolo’s suspension could impact Broncos’ quarterback plans

The NFL handed down a two-game suspension to Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on Friday after he violated the league’s performance-enhancing substances policy.

Garoppolo will now have to sit out the first two games of the 2024 season, and he is expected to be released by Las Vegas in the coming weeks. The QB’s suspension could have ramifications not only for the Raiders but also for the Denver Broncos (and any other team potentially interested in the QB).

Even before the suspension, Las Vegas was widely expected to release Garoppolo this spring. Had that happened under ordinary circumstances, the Raiders would have still owed the QB a significant portion of his contract. That would have allowed a team like the Broncos to sign Garoppolo to a bargain deal while Las Vegas paid most of his salary in 2024.

Instead, Garoppolo’s suspension will now void his $11.25 million salary guarantee, according to Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com. With the Raiders no longer set to pay the QB following his (expected) release, Garoppolo’s next club will have to pay him at the market rate.

It’s unclear what Garoppolo will expect to be paid on his next deal (especially when he’ll be unavailable for two games), but his contract with Las Vegas averaged $24.25 million per season. He’s probably not going to get that much from his next team, but Garoppolo won’t be a bargain signing, either.

All of this seemingly makes Denver much less likely to sign Garoppolo this offseason. If the Broncos had a plan to bring in a veteran to mentor a young rookie QB, Garoppolo not being available for the first two weeks of the season would put a lot of pressure on QB2 to be ready to start in Week 1. Denver is also currently over the salary cap, so the team can’t afford to give a big contract to a veteran QB in 2024.

If the Broncos release QB Russell Wilson in March as expected, the team would be wise to add another veteran. Garoppolo might not be a bargain candidate, but several other QBs could be (such as Jameis Winston). All we can do is speculate at the moment, but Denver seems less likely to sign Garoppolo following his suspension. NFL free agency will begin March 13.

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Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire