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NFL Trade Deadline: Deals the Denver Broncos Should Explore

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The Denver Broncos are 2-4, and still in contention for the AFC West title, which is both amazing and not surprising whatsoever. That being said, they have suffered a bounty of injuries on defensive side of the ball, and have been inconsistent offensively. They could easily have won 3 of the 4 games they have lost, but they have a definite inability to close games.

Being that this year's NFL trade market seems like it could be more active than most years, I think there are some trades that we should explore. I'm not suggesting that the Broncos throw in the towel and gut their roster. What I am suggesting is that they get this team primed to finish some games. Even without injuries, this team still has some question marks.

Here are some trades I think the Broncos should look into as we approach the deadline to make moves.

1.  Ryan Harris to the Buffalo Bills or Chicago Bears

First off, let me explain the inclusion of Ryan Harris. I am not sure he's part of this team's future. Zane Beadles replaced him as the starter this week, and if he continues to start (and I think he will) not only will Harris' value go way down as the season progresses, but he is almost of no use to the Broncos in terms of future investments. If he sits for the rest of the year, his market value goes down, the compensatory pick goes way down, and the Broncos are left with nothing for a young player with some promise.

Obviously Harris isn't a fit for this system. He's a solid player, but he's injury prone. I think there are multiple trades the Broncos could pursue here, and they are not limited to the two teams mentioned, though they seem to make the most sense.

With the Bears, you could explore multiple different deals:

  1. Ryan Harris for Tommie Harris
  2. Harris for 3rd round pick

I think our defense has played admirably. I would much rather the Broncos steal Urlacher away from the Bears in exchange for Ryan Harris, but I think getting Tommie Harris could be a nice addition to our defensive front.  The Bears really aren't utilizing him. He might be past his prime, but he's still relatively young and could help with our depth.

I'm more inclined to take a draft pick from the Bears, and maybe get a young player along with it. Chicago is currently in first place. That cannot and will not continue if they continue to allow Jay Cutler to be hit as much as he has. They need some protection, and this trade allows them to go elsewhere with their first round draft pick.

Projected Possible Trade:  Ryan Harris to Chicago Bears for 3rd round pick

With Buffalo, the Broncos could get a number of guys the Bills are looking to dump. I'm most intrigued by a swap of Harris for Donte Whitner. Harris would start at right tackle immediately for the Bills, and Whitner could give the Broncos another safety of the future to develop with Darcel McBath. Whitner plays much like Brian Dawkins in that he is a hard-hitting safety. He could be a solid mid-season addition for us.

Projected Possible Trade:  Ryan Harris to Buffalo Bills for S Donte Whitner

2.  Nate Jones to the Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, or New England Patriots

We certainly cannot discount a deal with the New England Patriots. After all, we have made plenty of deals with this team already. All of these teams have one thing in common--they either are struggling against the pass, or they lack depth in the defensive backfield. The Broncos have great depth at defensive back, and Jones has been a decent contributor. I think he is best used as a dime back, however, and I think Syd'Quan Thompson is the future there. I know the Broncos like Jones, but to get something, you've got to give something up.

With the Vikings, I see us acquiring a draft pick or defensive line depth. The Vikes have a load of great defensive linemen. Fred Evans and LeTroy Guion are two guys who are young and have decent upside as defensive ends in a 3-4 scheme, but if I'm Denver, I just stick to acquiring extra draft picks.

Houston has a  terrible cornerback situation, and the league's worst pass defense could really use some extra help. They are using Steve Slaton less and less, and the Broncos could utilize his kick returning abilities.

With New England, it would be cool to see the Broncos swap Jones for inside linebacker Gary Guyton, who has some upside and could wind up starting for us. Guyton's role as the starter has been diminished with the improving play of rookie Brandon Spikes, who is seeing the majority of snaps. Guyton is good in pass coverage, and would be a nice get for the Broncos.

Projected Possible Trade:  CB/S Nate Jones to Houston Texans for RB Steve Slaton

Projected Possible Trade:  CB/S Nate Jones to New England Patriots for ILB Gary Guyton

3.  Trade for New England Patriots OG Logan Mankins

This is really the big ticket item on the list. I think the Broncos could certainly look into this move, provided the Patriots are a willing participant. Mankins is not even currently listed on the team's roster. At the age of 28, and with a contract extension looming, I think the Broncos could get Mankins at somewhat of a reduced price, especially given he will only play in a limited number of games this season.

That being said, Mankins is better than any option we currently have at left guard. He is a proven commodity in this league, and wants money. The way I see it, the Broncos are looking at signing a guard this offseason anyways, or using a high draft pick on one.

I was previously very anti-Mankins trade, but now to say I have come around would be an understatement. In fact, this move would fortify our line for the next few years.

Projected Possible Trade:  Broncos trade 2nd round pick in 2011 to New England Patriots for OG Logan Mankins and 4th round pick in 2011

If you have any trade ideas, feel free to let  them float around.

The Broncos have three spots on the team open, two on the practice squad and one that will sadly open up due to Matthew Willis being placed on the injured reserve. The Broncos certainly are an aggressive team on the trade front, and I would not be surprised to see them active tomorrow before the deadline.