It’s almost trade deadline time.

By Tuesday afternoon, NFL teams must make their final trades before the embargo until the offseason begins. Some teams are looking to add talent. Others are willing to punt on the season.

Where do the Broncos fall?

Let’s ride.


Buy or Sell?

George Paton was non-committal when asked whether the Broncos will be sellers at Tuesday’s trade deadline. 

“We’ll do what’s best for the team.”

He was non-committal when asked about whether a win on Sunday, which would be the third in eight tries, will change the team’s approach to the trade deadline. 

“We’ll do what’s best for the team.”

Sunday’s result shouldn’t matter. The Broncos’ internal goal should still be playoffs, but betting on the Broncos to make the playoffs isn’t a good idea. Paton’s job is to make those sorts of bets.

If everything goes the Broncos’ way this weekend, including a handful of results in games back in the states lining up, Denver could sit as high as 10th in the AFC. In another world, they could be as low as dead last in the AFC heading into their bye week.

A 3-5 record would obviously be better than a 2-6 record, but both are bad hands. It’s time to fold.

That doesn’t mean tearing down the team and starting a rebuild. If the Broncos had their first-round pick that might make sense. They don’t. So the key is to take advantage of expiring assets before it’s too late, and to reset some spots that could use turnover.


What’s it take?

If I were George Paton, I’d be willing to part with a handful of players ahead of the trade deadline… for the right price.

Those prices are listed below.

The key to this exercise is that this isn’t what I’d ask for or what would be fair or what the best-case scenario would be; these are the final, baseline prices I would net to make the deal. Anything more would be great. Anything less and there’s no deal.

Bradley Chubb – A second and a fourth. 

The asking price for Chubb should be the same as it was for Von Miller a year ago: a second-round pick and a third-round pick. 

Chubb, obviously, doesn’t have the history of postseason success that commands such a package but he’s in better form now than Miller was a year ago and an extra year of team control helps his case, as he can be franchise tagged for about a $20 million rate.

But even if the Broncos can’t get a Von Miller-type package, they should still pull the trigger. A second and a fourth is good enough. Anything less and the Broncos would be better off sticking with Chubb, tagging him and trying again next year. 

Jerry Jeudy – A third and a seventh.

Flipping a first-round pick for a third-round pick after three years stings. But cutting losses and moving along is the right play. 

Jeudy could be worthy of a second-rounder in some team’s eyes, thanks to his obvious ability and, slightly, to his name recognition. If that’s the case, the Broncos should take the pick and run.

Denver would be short-handed at receiver without Jeudy but Tim Patrick’s return will bail the Broncos out next year. Adding a veteran third option shouldn’t be tough in free agency.

Getting less for Jerry Jeudy than the Giants got for Kadarius Toney (who is yet to score an NFL touchdown) would be an indictment of George Paton. Meeting that third-rounder and sixth-rounder bar should be a cake walk. Even if it doesn’t happen, you have to pull the trigger.

 

KJ Hamler – A 2023 sixth and conditional 2024 seventh.

I’m not ready to punt on KJ Hamler. 

Betting on Hamler to live up to his second-round status is absurd, but he will have plenty of opportunities to prove himself over the next couple of months. It’s tough to believe earning a handful of starts will drown his value. If it does, I’m fine missing out on the seventh-round pick the Broncos could pick up right now. That’s a good bet. 

A sixth-round pick is worthy of a bailout though. Adding a conditional pick in the next season provides some insurance. Bumping the conditional pick up a round or two would be great, but isn’t a deal-breaker. 

Albert Okwuegbunam – A conditional seventh.

Albert O’s time in Denver is up.

Greg Dulcich proved in two games back from injury that he is the future of the position, and there’s no need to invest five roster spots in tight ends. Somebody has to go. And Okwuegbunam is redundant with Dulcich.

The hype for Albert O was massive this offseason, thanks to his expanded opportunity (arguably nobody was a bigger winner than him in the Russell Wilson trade) and his physical abilities. 

His lack of blocking ability caught up to him in the Broncos’ new wide zone scheme and there’s no reason to think he’ll find his way back onto the field this season. So cut bait now and take what you can get. If that’s a seventh-round pick, that’s not a bad deal. If you have to settle for a conditional seventh, well at least you got something. 

Kareem Jackson – A seventh. 

At 34 years old, Jackson’s time in the NFL is winding down. Sending him to a contender is not only a chance to recoup a draft pick, it’s also a way to do right by a veteran who provided good years of service to the Broncos. 

Absorbing this loss won’t be as easy as you would’ve thought last week, before Caden Sterns went down with a hip injury that could end his season. But PJ Locke and Dellarin Turner-Yell could pop with more playing time and veteran Anthony Harris can sub in off the practice squad if Denver needs a helping hand. 

While Jackson won’t be a hot commodity, some GM will see him as a solid veteran to add to the backend. A team with an injury at safety would make the most sense. More than a seventh might be possible, but taking what you can get makes sense at this point. 

Dalton Risner – A fifth and a seventh. 

If somebody is willing to pay this price for Risner, I’d be willing to let him go. 

The fourth-year guard’s contract will be up at the end of the season and the Broncos may opt to keep him around. I wouldn’t. 

Rainer’s best season was a couple of years ago. He hasn’t been a disaster by any means, but given the struggles the Denver offense has faced, some turnover wouldn’t be a bad thing. 

I believe moving on from Risner makes more sense now than it would at the end of the season. Netane Muti’s minimal playing time didn’t result in quality performances, but the 23-year-old could be ready for a true audition for the starting job. If it goes well, Muti could take over at left guard next season. If it doesn’t, the Broncos can sub in Graham Glasgow and find a long-term option in the offseason. 

Dre’Mont Jones – A second. 

Dre’Mont Jones would be a fantastic piece of the Broncos’ defensive front for the long term. He’s been ultra-productive this season, and the team has the money to pay him this offseason. He should stay in Denver. 

But…

An overpay might be possible for a young productive interior rusher and I’d be willing to accept it. I doubt any team comes near a second-round offer, but I’m pulling the trigger if one does. 

DeShawn Williams, Mike Purcell or Alex Singleton – A seventh. 

Need help stopping the run? The Broncos have your answers. 

Williams and Purcell have been stellar playing their roles this season and a contender with a leaky front could be looking to add a veteran rental. Meanwhile rookie Matt Henningsen seems to be prepared for an expanded role. Clearing space mess sense. 

Flipping Singleton after signing him late in free agency would be another steal. Josey Jewell and Jonas Griffith are the starters anyway. You just have to hope they stay healthy. 

Melvin Gordon – A seventh. 

Does anybody want Melvin Gordon? I don’t know. But if they do, the Broncos should jump at the opportunity to get something in exchange for his expiring contract. 


A New Look

White jersey, blue pants? Great. 

An orange stripe on the jersey that somehow… turns orange on the pants? Yikes. 

Grading uniforms is usually about taste; what I like doesn’t necessarily line up with what you like. The problem with the uniforms the Broncos will wear on Sunday is that taste isn’t a factor; the uniforms are objectively bad. 

The stripe does not line up. 

It’s baffling to look at. 

It’s why the NFL has been mocked repeatedly for using the Broncos’ road jersey and their alternate pants in social media graphics. 

I can’t believe they’re actually doing this. At all.

Author

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

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