ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — No Bronco has heard his name tossed around in trade rumors more this offseason than 23-year-old wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.

During his pre-draft press conference on Thursday, Broncos general manager George Paton indicated that he doesn’t expect to trade Jeudy.

“We’re high—really high—on Jerry,” Paton said. “We don’t anticipate doing anything with Jerry.”

The phrasing leaves a slight possibility that a move is made—Paton said “we don’t anticipate” instead of “we won’t”—but caring about that detail might be reading too deeply into the word choice.

Jeudy’s name was first passed around as a potential trade candidate shortly before the 2022 trade deadline about six months ago. At the time, the asking price was reported to be a second-round pick. The Packers and others were interested, but the rest of the NFL balked at the idea of giving up a second-round pick for Jeudy.

Since then, at least according to reports, Jeudy’s price has risen to a first-round pick.

Paton hinted at the reason why.

“Jerry finished the season strong; the last five games, he had over 500 yards,” Paton said. “He was one of the top receivers in the league.”

Paton was a little bit off on the numbers—Jeudy had 458 receiving yards in the final five games, plus another 38 as a runner—but he was absolutely correct about Jeudy being one of the best receivers in the league in that span; only three other receivers posted at least 450 receiving yards in the season’s final five weeks. The others were AJ Brown, Devonta Smith and Justin Jefferson. For what it’s worth, Jeudy put up the most fantasy points of the bunch.

It’s easy to see why Jeudy has been rumored to be available for trade.

a. He’s an exciting, up-and-coming young player.

b. The options at receiver are slim this offseason, both in free agency and the draft, making teams hungrier to trade for receivers.

c. The Broncos won’t have any picks in either of the first two rounds and unless they add more draft picks, their five picks will be the fewest in their history.

d. The Broncos only won five games last season, so it would make sense that they would want to shake up their roster or add more draft picks.

e. The Broncos only have a few players on their roster that could net them high-value capital.

Combine these factors, and it’s no surprise Jeudy’s name has been in the headlines all offseason.

Assuming the Broncos hold on to Jeudy through the draft, the next step will be deciding whether to opt into his fifth-year option. If the Broncos opt in, they’ll essentially extend Jeudy’s contract one more year through the 2024 season and give him a fully-guaranteed $13 million salary. That salary would be the 24th-highest among NFL wide receivers, a reasonable price considering Jeudy finished 22nd in the NFL in receiving yards last season.

The Broncos will almost certainly pick up the option—Jeudy would earn a much larger deal on the open market—but they haven’t pulled the trigger yet, and Paton didn’t mention the option despite being asked about it. The team can wait until the May 1 deadline to pull the trigger, so there’s no real rush, but other teams have started to exercise their fifth-year options, like the Cowboys with wide receiver Ceedee Lamb earlier this week.

Theoretically, the Broncos could be trying to leave flexibility for a new team if Jeudy is traded. But, once again, that’s probably reading too deeply into the phrasing of the answer and the decision to wait until closer to the deadline. Why wouldn’t the new team opt into the option anyway?

Maybe the Broncos’ feelings about Jeudy are more simple than we’re making them out to be.

“We like Jerry, and he’s going to be here,” Paton said.


Henry was born in Columbia Falls, Montana and graduated from Columbia Falls High School in 2015. He earned bachelor's degrees in journalism and economics from the University of Montana in 2019. After graduation, he joined DNVR. He spent three years covering the University of Colorado before moving to the Broncos beat ahead of the 2022 season. Henry joined DNVR as a remote staff writer in 2017, providing support to BSN's Broncos beat reporters. He interned at DNVR headquarters in the summer of 2018 and accepted a full-time position after graduating from UM. Follow Henry on Twitter - @HenryChisholm