When Brandon Lloyd was traded to the Rams on Monday, it did not seem to make a whole lot of sense from a Broncos perspective. The substance of the deal that Denver made is perplexing, but the timing of this trade is perhaps even more inexplicable.

The Broncos have only just taken the decision to hand the starting QB job to Tim Tebow. Tebow is greatly admired, but his prospects of becoming an accomplished quarterback in this league have been questioned from day one. The main criticisms levelled at Tebow have been in relation to his throwing motion and accuracy. Bearing this in mind, you would think that the Broncos would do their utmost to add to Tebow’s options at receiver, as this would give him and the franchise the best opportunity to succeed. Instead, the Broncos traded away the man that made 77 receptions last season for 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns.

What possible explanation then could there be for this ridiculous trade? When I first heard of this move, I wanted to be positive. My mind went to issues of chemistry and leadership. After all, throughout the entire course of the Broncos quarterback controversy, (or crisis, to be more accurate), almost every player on the Broncos roster stayed on the fence. Everyone, that is, except for Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd has always been a vocal supporter of Kyle Orton, and it is not difficult to understand why. Lloyd and Orton were teammates in Chicago prior to their days in Denver, and it was under the pass-happy Kyle Orton Bronco era that Brandon Lloyd had been at his most prolific and productive. Now, faced with the prospect of regressing with his stats under a Tim Tebow offense that would rely more on the run game and short passes, Lloyd was obviously reticent to accept the new situation in what is a contract year for him.

In light of this potential disruptive influence in the Broncos camp, it would appear to be a sensible option to trade Brandon Lloyd. Without a discontent veteran to placate, Tebow is now free to establish his leadership and chemistry with young wide receivers such as Thomas, Royal and Decker.

But then the Agent Mulder conspiracy theorist emerged out of nowhere, and put forward a whole new explanation for the trade: the Broncos want to fail.

Andrew Luck is the highest rated and best-projected quarterback to come out of college since Peyton Manning. As we all know, today’s NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and Luck’s potential value to a franchise is unquantifiable. There is some risk but the odds are that obtaining Luck will ensure, at the very least, relevancy for the next 10-15 years.

There are several teams that are in the ‘race’ for that number 1 draft pick. The Colts (0-6), the Dolphins (0-5), the Vikings (1-5) and St. Louis Rams (0-5) have all proven to be contenders by combining dismal results with equally woeful performances.

When you’re in this position, 5-11 is a pointless final record because it will not be good enough for the number 1 pick; at the same time it will still be indicative of a bad season. So really, 0-16, 1-15 or 2-14 is not such a bad season in the circumstances. But how do you guarantee that you are this bad in a league that is based on parity? You cannot simply throw games. It is not plausible for a GM or Head Coach to say to his players that they should not try, and it is even less plausible to expect players to follow this request when they have their own contracts and futures to think of.

This is what makes the Broncos trade so ingenious. They have chosen instead to maximise their odds of being bad by trading away one of their best players. Those remaining will try their best, but it will now be significantly harder for them to achieve much of anything, particularly on offense. The Rams have taken the converse approach. They have no desire to draft Luck, as they are already satisfied with their quarterback for the future. Accordingly, they have taken steps to actively improve their team today and give Bradford the weapon on offense that he so desperately needs.

This trade by the Broncos is even more cunning for a further reason: it will ultimately help to quell the cult of Tim Tebow. Tebow is now being given his ‘chance’ to play quarterback, and this will appease his fans as well as provide some excitement in Denver for the remainder of what shapes up to be a dire season. The reality is that Tebow is being set up to fail, and a poor finish to the season will pour cold water over those that were already proclaiming him to be a future hall of famer. It will not extinguish the Tebow cult entirely, but it represents the beginning. If there is one man that can succeed Tebow and win over the fans instantly, it is the enigmatic Andrew Luck. By next season, there would be so much focus on Luck and his weekly accolades that Tebow would be left in the shadows.

I, like anyone else, find it difficult not to like Tim Tebow and wish him every success. So at this point I will remove the aluminium foil from my hat and finish the conspiracy theory here.

One last point though. Who is the current Executive Vice President of Football Operations in Denver? Answer: John Elway. A Stanford graduate with a highly prestigious career as a Broncos quarterback. Also, a huge admirer of Andrew Luck, current Stanford University quarterback.

Maybe the truth is out there.