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Make the Case: The Broncos will deal a receiver before the trade deadline

Zac Stevens Avatar
May 3, 2023

Will the Broncos trade a receiver before the trade deadline, which occurs in the middle of the season?

That is the question.

This is the debate.

The Situation

After an offseason where Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and K.J. Hamler were all mentioned in potential trade rumors, the Broncos used their first pick in the draft—and the first pick in the Sean Payton era—on a receiver. In fact, they traded up to draft Marvin Mims. That only fueled speculation about the future of many players in that room.

In fact, according to Albert Breer, the Broncos received trade calls about their receivers shortly after selecting Mims with the 63rd-overall pick in the draft. The belief was, however, that Denver maintained their stance that they want a future first-round pick in return for Jeudy or a future second-round pick for Sutton.

As of now, the Broncos have not acted on any of the rumors or teams calling about their receivers.

But will they before the trade deadline, which typically occurs days after Week 8 of the season?

The Cases

The Broncos WILL deal a receiver before the trade deadline — Zac

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And there’s been smoke simmering around the Mile High City too long for there not to be a fire surrounding the Broncos trading one of their receivers.

Throughout the offseason, when Sean Payton and George Paton have spoke publicly, they’ve done their best to put out the trade rumor fires. But new smoke has emerged nearly after every time they’ve spoken publicly.

Additionally, it’s been clear by their actions that Payton wants a bit of a shakeup in the receiver room. Before using their first pick in the draft on a talented receiver, Denver was in talks with Allen Lazard and Adam Thielen during free agency.

By drafting Mims, the Broncos’ receiver room is too crowded for the resources it has invested. That means they will make a move to free up space, both on the field and on paper.

It’s hard to imagine Payton’s first pick in the draft will consistently be behind Jeudy, Sutton and Patrick as the team’s No. 4 receiver. Mims won’t be Denver’s No. 1 receiver as a rookie, but he won’t be riding the bench all year long, either.

That means Mims will likely unseat one of the Broncos’ top three receivers—most likely either Sutton or Patrick—for playing time. Since Denver won’t be constantly running out four-receiver sets, one wide receiver will be on the bench more often than not.

Sutton has a cap hit of $18.3 million this year and Patrick’s cap hit is $11.1 million. For either of those players to have such a limited role on the team would be a waste of talent and cap. Next year, their cap hits are $17.3 million and $13.1 million, respectively. For a team that is already projected to be $30 million over the cap in 2024, by moving on from one of those receivers this year, they would save a significant amount of cap next year.

Additionally, Denver has fine, arguably good, depth behind their top four receivers, specifically with Marquez Callaway. In 2021, Callaway was Payton’s leading receiver in New Orleans. He won’t be asked to be anywhere close to that in Denver, but Payton would certainly feel comfortable with Callaway as his fourth receiver if Denver did trade one of their other receivers.

A trade might not be imminent. But there are too many signs and too many reasons for a trade to not to go down before the deadline this fall.

The Broncos will not deal a receiver before the trade deadline — Henry

Sean Payton’s top priority for the 2023 season will be turning Russell Wilson back into the Russell Wilson we saw in the first decade of his NFL career. Whether or not Payton is succesful won’t define his tenure in Denver, but fixing Wilson could get him off to a hot start.

The last thing the Broncos should do is take away one of Wilson’s weapons.

If the Broncos move one of their receivers, Courtland Sutton would be the most likely candidate by a wide margin. Moving Jerry Jeudy would leave the Broncos desperate for a No. 1 option. Moving Tim Patrick would require selling him at a discount since he’s coming off a torn ACL. KJ Hamler would net a negligible return, if any return at all.

And trading Sutton would be a bad idea.

The 27-year-old wide receiver has produced at least 700 yards in each of his four healthy seasons. He’s led the team in receiving twice. He’s one of four players on the roster who has a Pro Bowl under his belt. Sutton may not be a Pro Bowl-caliber player at this point, but he’s the most proven receiver on a team that needs to improve significantly in the passing game.

The Broncos’ receivers room is in a good place right now. They have four receivers who have proven to be worthy starters. A second-round pick who can work his way into the offense this year and, hopefully, take over as a starter by next year’s opener. KJ Hamler and Marquez Callaway are above-average depth. There’s a little upside in the rest of the group, too.

Denver can carry its receivers into training camp and let them compete. If Marvin Mims is ready to start, KJ Hamler plays like a second-round pick, Tim Patrick is back to his old self immediately after his torn ACL and the Broncos avoid any injuries to the room, they’ll have an embarrassment of riches at receivers. Moving one might make sense.

But that perfect storm has virtually no chance of happening. If the Broncos trade Sutton, they’ll miss him at some point in the season, probably within the first few weeks.

Plus, the time to move a receiver this offseason has already come and gone. The Broncos were desperate for 2022 draft picks but have seven in the 2023 draft, including their first first-rounder since 2021.

And if they want to move a receiver before next year’s draft, which they probably should, giving that receiver a year in a Sean Payton-led offense should boost his trade value, right?

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