ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos’ passing game has not been cooking 13 weeks into the season. It’s still preheating.

There are a variety of factors that have led Russell Wilson and the Broncos to struggle through the air and Denver will try to address as many of those as possible in the offseason.

Is having a true No. 1 receiver one of those issues that must be addressed?

The DNVR Broncos Crew debates.

All odds below are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Do the Broncos need to get a No. 1 receiver in the offseason?

Zac: Yes — What Denver desperately needs is a true No. 1 playmaker at the receiver position.

At the beginning of the season, there was hope that Courtland Sutton and/or Jerry Jeudy would turn into that with Wilson under center. While Jeudy’s three-touchdown performance against the Chiefs on Sunday was impressive and encouraging, his big-play ability has been too inconsistent. Sutton’s playmaking ability has been extremely underwhelming as he only has one receiving touchdown on the season.

Wilson has flashed his ability at times throughout the season, but it’s clear he needs significant help from his receivers. A big-time playmaker would be Wilson’s best friend in Denver.

Fortunately, ready-to-go play-making receivers have been readily available over the past few offseason.

Just this past offseason Tyreek Hill, AJ Brown and Davante Adams — three of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL — were all traded. In 2020, Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins were traded. Of course, four of those five receivers, with the exception of Hopkins, were all traded for at least one first-round pick. While Denver doesn’t have their first rounder, they do have the 49ers first-round pick.

Although that’s a high price to pay, if there is a receiver on the market that is the caliber of any of those receivers above, Denver should make the move and get Russ a true play-making No. 1 receiver.

RK: No — “Need” is the operative word here. The Broncos have a ton of holes on this roster, wide receiver is not one.

With that being said, if Denver finds themselves in a position to add a true WR1 in the offseason, it’s something they should absolutely consider.

If the Broncos can use their limited resources to improve their running game and offensive line, though, the combination of Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and a healthy Tim Patrick should be plenty at the wide receiver position to field a competitive offense.

Jeudy should get the lions share of the WR1 reps the rest of the season and there is no doubt he has the talent to take his game to the next level. If the 23-year-old can take things up a notch, this group could really thrive in a competent offense.

Hank: No — Reshuffling the receiver room would be a good thing, but it doesn’t make sense this offseason.

Denver is pretty much locked into Tim Patrick and Courtland Sutton for next year. They would cost more to move than they would to keep around. More flexibility will arrive after 2023.

Jerry Jeudy is movable, but he’s showing signs of growth. The Broncos could flip Jeudy and a pick for a stud, but betting on Jeudy for one more year is the better option. The Broncos should also pick up his fifth-year option, which would pay him $12.2 million in 2024 and slot him in as the 29th highest-paid receiver between Corey Davis and Michael Gallup. It’s a good deal, and one that the Broncos could move after next season, when it’s time to shuffle things up.

ESPN’s Todd McShay picked Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs for the Broncos in his first mock draft of the year this week. Broncos fans scoffed. Denver has too many needs to waste a first-rounder on a luxury running back.

I disagree.

The Broncos don’t have an opening at receiver but they need more pop in the receiving game. Enter Gibbs, who was Bryce Young’s favorite target at Bama this year if you’re counting receptions and third-favorite in terms of receiving yards. With Javonte Williams’ timeline up in the air, the back could be a perfect fit. Gibbs could make up for the mistake of not adding Christian McCaffrey and his six catches per game earlier this season.

Add Gibbs or another receiving back. Or add a second tight end to work with Dulcich. And definitely add some linemen.

There are ways to bolster the passing game that are much easier than adding a No. 1 receiver to a solid trio. Shuffle the receivers up after 2023, and make sure you have a Pro Bowl-type guy then. And hope that it’s one of the three already on the roster.

Picks Picks Picks

Cardinals @ Broncos first half total over/under 17.5

Zac: Under.

RK: Under.

Hank: Under.

Brandon McManus points over/under 6.5

Zac: Over.

RK: Over.

Hank: Under.

Broncos-Cardinals total points over/under 36.5

Zac: Under.

RK: Under.

Hank: Under.

Cardinals @ Broncos (-1.5)

Zac: Broncos.

RK: Broncos.

Hank: Cardinals.

Chiefs (-14) @ Texans

Zac: Chiefs.

RK: Chiefs.

Hank: Chiefs.

Titans @ Chargers (-3)

Zac: Chargers.

RK: Titans.

Hank: Titans.

Patriots @ Raiders (-1.5)

Zac: Raiders.

RK: Pats.

Hank: Patriots.


Last week

Zac: 9-6

Hank: 9-6

RK: 4-11


Zac: 74-72

RK: 67-79

Hank: 59-87


Zac Stevens was born and raised in Denver, went to the University of Denver and now covers the Denver Broncos. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from DU in 2014, Zac worked for the Cleveland Browns as a remote scout. He then jumped straight into the journalism industry at the beginning of 2016 covering the reigning world-champion Broncos and joined DNVR soon after. Catch him on Twitter @ZacStevensDNVR and daily on the DNVR Broncos podcast as the co-host.