INDIANAPOLIS -- First, the Denver Broncos will look to free agency to try and find the answer to their two-year quarterback conundrum.
"I think we're going to explore all options in free agency and see where that goes," Broncos general manager John Elway said at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday. "Obviously we've got the fifth pick in the draft, too. That will all play into it. We'll continue to look at all of the options out there when it comes to quarterback."
But free agency offers no guarantee that the Broncos can come up with the big score: Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins. The New York Jets have more cap room and likely more cash for a heftier guarantee. The Minnesota Vikings have more cap space and offer a better launching point, having just qualified for the NFC Championship Game.
So while Cousins, Minnesota's Case Keenum and Cincinnati's AJ McCarron appear to be the Broncos' primary options, only Cousins likely means the Broncos are assured of bypassing the deep 2018 draft class in the search for a long-term quarterback.
That leads the Broncos to the thrust of their offseason work so far, which has involved a deep dive into the quarterbacks available in this draft class. Their coaching staff worked with Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Wyoming's Josh Allen for a week at the Senior Bowl in January.
Elway said at the Combine that he planned to schedule a formal interview with UCLA's Josh Rosen at the Combine, and later bring him in for an on-site interview at Broncos team headquarters. He also said he would "probably" use another of the 30 on-site visits with draft prospects at team headquarters on Mayfield.
For what it's worth, Elway doesn't seem too concerned about some perceptions regarding the attitudes of Mayfield or Rosen.
"Arm-talent-wise, he can throw it as good as anybody," Elway said of Rosen. "He's a competitor, and the bottom line is that you've got to have confidence to play that position, so if he's overconfident, that's not bad."
Regarding Mayfield, Elway said, "What I've seen is obviously there are some things that he'd admit that he'd want to take back. A lot of times you get tied up in the emotions of the situation and where he is. I like to see a guy with that kind of passion."
Of course, the research into those quarterbacks could prove moot if they sign Cousins.
If the Broncos add Cousins or perhaps Keenum, their Week 1 starter seems secure. If they add McCarron or a bridge quarterback, all bets are off -- and their Week 1 starter could depend on whether a rookie they draft is ready for the job.
Could any of these first-round caliber rookies be ready to go?
"Until we really get to know them and get around them a little bit more, it's hard to say," he said. "With what I went through (as a rookie in 1983), if you go young, throw them out there and get them going."
Whether it's a rookie or a veteran who takes the reins, Elway expects results and improvement from the team at large.
"Life's too short to rebuild in the NFL," Elway said.