Head coach Gary Kubiak of the Denver Broncos looks on...

Head coach Gary Kubiak of the Denver Broncos looks on in the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Jan. 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. Credit: Getty Images / Justin Edmonds

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Replacing a legend and future Hall of Famer at quarterback may be too big of a task for the Broncos to pull off this offseason. So they’ve lowered the bar a bit.

Instead of looking to fill the void left by Peyton Manning’s retirement, head coach Gary Kubiak said his goal is to get a guy who can be the guy who could have been the guy.

“It’s time for us to find the next Brock Osweiler,” Kubiak said at the AFC coaches breakfast on Tuesday at the NFL’s annual meetings.

Osweiler was Manning’s backup who started seven games during the 2015 Super Bowl season while Manning recovered from injury. Manning eventually returned and quarterbacked the team to the title before retiring, and it seemed as if Osweiler would take his place on a more permanent basis. But then Osweiler signed a free-agent deal with the Texans, leaving the defending champs without a signal-caller.

Their initial response to that glaring problem was signing former Jet Mark Sanchez, but they are not done.

“We know who the guys are out there that are still free, as far as free agents go, there’s no secret there, there’s not many of those,” Kubiak said of other quarterbacks who are available either as free agents or via trade. “The draft this year has some good quarterbacks in it. So it’s a day-to-day process and something that we continue to work through. I can’t speak for John, but I know through our conversations we’re trying to have patience here and make sure we do this the right way and make sure we feel good about whoever we bring in from a competitive standpoint. We’ll continue to do that and keep our patience there and get the right guy.”

It could be that Sanchez is the right guy, Kubiak said.

“We wouldn’t have went and got Mark if we didn’t think he could run our offense,” he said. “But it’s going to be up to him to prove that he is the guy or can be the guy . . . He’s going to have to make us comfortable, he’s going to have to come in and do his job. Mark hasn’t asked for anything, he just wants to compete. That’s what he’s said from day one, and we can give him a tremendous opportunity to do that right now.”

Kubiak said there are similarities in the Broncos’ post-Manning offense to the system Sanchez played at USC and even with the Jets, and there is carryover verbiage that should help him “make up ground really really quick.”

That could give him a short-term advantage over other quarterbacks the Broncos may add. But Sanchez has not been a full-time starter in the NFL since 2012 with the Jets. He missed all of 2013 with a shoulder injury and spent the past two seasons as a backup for the Eagles (he started 10 games for Philadelphia).

“He’s very excited at this stage of his career,” Kubiak said of Sanchez. “He’s had some big opportunities, he’s been on some big stages, and here he’s getting an excellent chance to get back on one again.”

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