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Broncos should trade for Sheldon Richardson

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Richardson would fill an immediate need and improve the defensive end position over what it was even a season ago.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL trade deadline brings more rumors and speculation than actual trades.

The armchair general managers throw caution to the wind and make each and every deal they can for their team. If there are reports a player could get dealt, that player is a “solid fit” and “it needs to happen.”

The focus for fans of the Denver Broncos has been on one player in particular: Joe Thomas. That was the case a season ago as well when the Broncos were rumored to have a deal for the Cleveland Browns offensive lineman but backed out. The thought of adding one of the best left tackles in the NFL before the trade deadline at 2 p.m. on Tuesday has intrigue. It makes sense.

Some may bring up Joe Staley with the San Francisco 49ers as a possible player for the Broncos to target. On the other side of the ball, Glenn Dorsey, also of the 49ers, is an option, but unlikely given who could be had and also is a superior player.

Between now and Tuesday, John Elway should put his focus on Sheldon Richardson of the New York Jets. The defensive end is an ideal fit for this defense and would make the unit even better.

To put this another way: If Elway gets Richardson it’s game, set, match.

Richardson fills an immediate need for Denver and improves the position over what it was even a season ago. He’s one of the best in NFL, he’s young and this year’s cap hit is only $3 million. His cap number jumps up to $8 million next season, but it’s a fifth-year option and the Broncos have tons of cap space to make that work if they so choose. The Jets would no doubt eat some of that salary, as well.

Whether the Broncos pick-up the 2017 option in Richardson’s rookie contract would get determined by this season and how he performs. One could say it’s a tryout. But there is no doubt that Richardson would thrive in this system, with these players and coaches.

In terms of compensation to make this trade happen, a second-round pick should do it. The rumored compensation for Thomas is a second-round pick. Elway may even swing a deal with the Jets for a third- or even fourth-round pick.

It’s fair to say this is the last season Richardson plays in New York and it won’t want to just let him leave for nothing. The Jets are stacked at defensive end and they’re already paying Muhammad Wilkerson a ton of money. He has an $18 million cap hit in 2017. If New York keeps Richardson, that’s $26 million for two defensive linemen. There is no way the Jets throw that much money to defensive ends when they have problems up and down their roster. Plus, New York would love an extra draft pick to help it reload.

As for the Broncos, if they could get a player of Richardson’s ability for a second-round pick, this deal needs to get done now. As mentioned earlier, this fills an immediate need on Denver’s defense and serves as an upgrade over what it has now or even last season. Imagine Richardson opposite Derek Wolfe, next to the likes of Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and the other pass rushers. But it’s not just pressure on the quarterback. Richardson is a complete defensive end who would help shore up the run defense as well.

The NFL trade deadline is an exciting time; especially for fans of the Broncos when they have a general manager who isn’t afraid to make deals or his team better. When it’s a potential move that makes sense and should get done that only heightens the fervor.

There are still a few days for Elway to make this deal for Richardson. We can all hope this gets done prior to Tuesday. If/when it does, game, set, match.