Brian Xanders, if you're reading, I've got some ideas.
Over Christmas break (officially probably the best time of my life), I have been in full Madden mode. Therefore, I have been in full General Manager mode, as my favorite part of Madden is not necessarily playing the games, but building dominant teams through free agency and the draft.
Not to mention--trades.
I have been dipping into the deepest parts of my brain to see what trades might or might not help this team, and I think you might like what you see. I think the Broncos will again be very active on the trade market this year as they attempt to completely revamp their defensive unit, which could have new starters at every position (if you can even believe that).
Here are some of the players that could be traded this offseason, and some possible return packages.
1. Kyle Orton, Quarterback
For me personally, it has been the plan all along for Orton to start in 2010 and trade him in 2011. That has been my plan since the day we drafted Tebow, and it hasn't changed.
Orton WILL demand a decent return for the Broncos, and some team WILL want him. There's not a question about it. He's in the top half of the quarterbacks in this league, and he's paid less than most if not all of them, even with his new numbers for 2011. The average payment for a quarterback is close to 16 million dollars if memory serves me right (the top ten highest paid, that is).
Kyle Orton will not even reach $9 million in 2011, so a team is getting a top 15 QB for a lower price than people are making it out to be. Teams that need a quarterback going forward (off the top of my head)
- San Francisco
SO, what will a team give up for him? The market will be decided by the teams who think they are the closest to winning now, or a team that feels like they need to let a young QB develop. My prediction since the pre-season has been Minnesota, but that could easily change. People keep talking about the Vikes picking up McNabb, but Orton is better right now, and he's WAY cheaper.
Minnesota could give the Broncos a 4th round choice and a conditional choice for the 2012 draft.
2. Eddie Royal, Wide Receiver
Royal is a fan favorite, but he's not been productive since his rookie year. Actually, he's been relatively productive this year, and has made some nice plays, but someone else probably values him more than the Broncos do, because Denver has simply been unable to use him.
An interesting scenario would be for Royal to go back to the man who drafted him, to the Washington Redskins and Mike Shanahan. The Redskins are starved for help at the receiver position, and we all know how Shanahan likes to overpay for everything, so getting Royal into Washington for a 2nd or 3rd round pick is an intriguing possibility to me.
Who would take his spot? Demaryius Thomas. Thomas has the makings of a number one receiver, but with his limited playing time in his rookie season, his route tree needs time to grow. Putting him in the slot and letting him make plays after the catch (what he clearly does best) might not be a bad idea. Your starting three for 2011 would then be Brandon Lloyd at the X, Eric Decker the Y, and Demaryius Thomas the Z. That would be a mismatch waiting to happen.
3. D.J. Williams, Linebacker
Williams is likely facing a short suspension for next year, one that he will get shortened by doing AA classes for Roger Goodell and the NFL. My guess is, D.J. is looking at three games at a minimum for his DUI, and there is one team in particular that could really use his services.
The New Orleans saints are starved for help at the linebacker position, and Williams is obviously a better fit for the 4-3 defensive scheme. If he can get back into that scheme and with his old teammate from Miami Jonathan Vilma, it could be a win-win situation for both teams.
The Broncos could bring back potentially a third or second round pick in the trade, but my favorite scenario has the two teams swapping players.
I say, trade D.J. Williams for running back Reggie Bush. The Broncos would then have their own version of Earth (Knowshon Moreno), Wind (Bush), and Fire (LenDale White), and maybe think of a fourth nickname for Lance Ball, who has impressed me this year.
It's clear that if Royal is traded, the Broncos will need a return specialist, and Bush is a VERY good one. Not only that, but he's a fantastic receiver out of the backfield and provides the Broncos with the change of pace back they need desperately.
If the Broncos replace Royal with Bush and a 3rd round pick offensively, I can't say I'd be disappointed. Getting Reggie Bush has always been a dream of mine, as he is a playmaker and is one of the most underrated players in the game. I know, his draft status indicates he has not lived up to expectations, but this kid is a playmaker and is a very valuable asset when used correctly.
After five years with New Orleans and the deepest crop of backs they have had in quite some time (Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, Bush, Julius Jones), this team could easily replace Bush and could desperately use D.J. Williams. It obviously weakens the Broncos considerably at the linebacker position, but this defense needs to be completely gutted. I'm talking we could POTENTIALLY lose Champ Bailey, Brian Dawkins, Renaldo Hill, Mario Haggan, D.J. Williams, and Jamal Williams.
Reggie Bush in a Broncos uniform would be sick to me, and pairing him back with LenDale White would be even more sick. Not to mention, teaming both of them up with Knowshon Moreno?
Moreno has been unable to stay healthy for an extended period of time, and I would feel comfotable with White/Bush as his replacements should he go down for a period of time.
So, I'm sure you all have your own ideas and opinions. Shoot!