By Peter Gleason

The Denver Broncos now have a quarterback who has thrown a regular season pass in the NFL.

The defending Super Bowl champions obtained Mark Sanchez in a trade Friday with the Eagles in exchange for a conditional draft pick in 2017.

“He brings veteran leadership [and] will compete,” Broncos executive John Elway wrote on Twitter. “This is the [first] step in our process.”

The trade came four days after Peyton Manning announced his retirement and two days after Brock Osweiler signed with the Houston Texans as a free agent. Manning’s retirement and Osweiler’s departure left the Broncos temporarily with only one quarterback, Trevor Siemian, on their roster. He played in one game last season as a rookie and did not throw a pass.

Sanchez’s arrival buys some peace of mind and, if needed, some time for Elway and the Broncos. Sanchez gives the team a backup quarterback who could be elevated to the starting job if the Broncos cannot do better. Denver won the Super Bowl with its defense, not via its quarterback play. Sanchez probably could play as well next season as Manning and Osweiler played last season.

Of course, there are no guarantees that the Denver defense will remain at the same lofty level next season. Defensive end Malik Jackson and linebacker Danny Trevathan have left in free agency. The Broncos would be well served to add a quarterback more reliable than Sanchez, if they can.

They have been discussing a potential trade for Colin Kaepernick with the San Francisco 49ers. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Robert Griffin III are available in free agency. There is the chance that Elway could draft a quarterback to go with Sanchez.

For the Broncos, the need at quarterback remains. But at least now it’s not quite as desperate.