Just in case you’ve been taking a quick sabbatical from football since the Broncos beat Arizona last Thursday, news broke over the weekend that the Broncos have received offers from multiple teams regarding Demaryius Thomas.
What’s more, reports have surfaced that John Elway and the rest of management have not in fact rebuffed those offers. It looks like they’re willing to deal, so long as the compensation makes sense.
Why would Elway deal D.T. now?
- Even with the Broncos now sitting at 3-4, it’s a pretty long shot that they’ll make the playoffs this year. Football Outsiders gives the team a 21 percent chance in their playoff simulator, a big increase from this time last week but still behind the division leaders as well as the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Chargers.
- Thomas has hit the gargantuan part of the contract extension he signed in 2015. He presently accounts for 6.8 percent of the Broncos entire cap this year, and his 2019 figure of $17,533,334 will count for 9.2 percent.
- Courtland Sutton has progressed much faster than anticipated. When he came out of SMU, the 6-foot-3 receiver was considered a long-term project but has looked better each week. Much like his draftmate Bradley Chubb did prior to the Rams game, Sutton has looked much better than the picture his raw stats paint. He deserves more targets and would benefit from reps in Thomas’ spot.
So couldn’t Vance Joseph and Bill Musgrave simply split reps between Sutton and Thomas this year? Yes, but with the team realistically playing for 2019 it would be to the Broncos long term benefit to add a draft pick and create cap space this year. The NFL is a cold business, but the very best teams treat it as such.
$3.5M dead next year and they save paying him around $5M in salary this season if they traded him now https://t.co/ekKb6tPU2d— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) October 22, 2018
So who is in the market for Thomas?
When Mike Wallace got hurt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the defending champions receiving corps suddenly looked rather thin. When he’s available, Alshon Jeffrey is playing well but has an extensive injury history. Beyond him, Carson Wentz is left to rely on Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor, who’s best used as a slot weapon. Zach Ertz is a great tight end, but they could use a boost to their offense if there’s any hope they can claw their way back into the playoff race. Before Amari Cooper went to Dallas, reports were surfacing that Philly was interested.
I’m told the Eagles offered a second-round pick to the Raiders for Amari Cooper last week. Raiders held out for a 1. Got it today from Philly’s NFC East rival. Colts also had interest. @AroundTheNFL @nflnetwork— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) October 22, 2018
Blake Bortles is doing his best to fumble away the Jags chances this year, but it’s not as if he has much in the way of help around him. Marqise Lee is out for the year, and Leonard Fournette is hurt. Again. The injuries are bad enough that management gave up a fifth-round pick for Carlos Hyde and his 3.4 yard per carry average. If they’re willing to do that, they’re probably desperate enough to peddle picks for Thomas.
While T.Y. Hilton is a solid target, the cupboard is really thin after him. Eric Ebron has been a bit of a revelation but Andrew Luck needs more help if the Colts are seriously trying to push the Texans in a weak AFC South. Indy also has more than enough cap space to eat DT’s contract next year.
If Bill Belichick can get Thomas for something like a conditional 4th, it’d make a lot of sense for both teams. Tom Brady’s window is right now and would probably get more out of Thomas than any other team on this list. Their management has routinely looked under every single rock over the years to try and get an edge. One only has to look at Josh Gordon earlier this year to see that philosophy in full effect, even if his presence means this deal may be redundant for the Pats. The cap math also makes this pairing tricky though.
The Tennessee Titans
Outside of Corey Davis, can you name a single Titans receiver? What’s more, the team has almost $25 million in effective cap space at present and is clinging to a snowballs chance at the playoffs in a weak division. Another receiver may well kick start their offense enough to contend this year.
The New York Jets and Cleveland Browns
Both make sense in a vacuum. Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield both lack weapons and a player like Thomas would help them in their development. Both teams are also year 1 in a rebuilding process that makes trading for a 30-year-old receiver questionable. Consider the Jets more likely as the seats Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan reside upon are unquestionably hotter than John Dorsey’s.
This is probably a long shot as management in Green Bay has always tended to be reluctant on making these sorts of deals, but much like the Eagles, Colts and Titans quarterbacks, Rodgers could use more help if his team is going to try and make the playoffs this year.
Alex Smith has been a bit of a mess this season, but it’s been hidden from the national media by his team’s 4-2 start. Their win over the Cowboys put Washington into the driver’s seat for the division title but if they want to make any noise this year Smith needs to improve. It would be a Snyder move to think another receiver is the missing link. With a 34-year old quarterback and 33-year old Adrian Peterson it’s doubtful age prevents a Thomas trade. Washington also has close to $10 million in effective cap space at present.
So will the Broncos move Thomas? Only Elway knows.
”That’s a good thing if somebody is interested because then I can still play ball,” Thomas said. “I still got a chance if I get traded. I want to be here but I’ve been hearing it the whole season now so I feel like somewhat it is true. My time here is coming up.”
So what kind of team are the Denver Broncos? Are they going to dig deep within and find whatever they found against the Cardinals to shock the NFL? Or are they going to completely collapse in horrific fashion like they did against the New York Jets in week 5? With the trade deadline just over a week away, you best believe that John Elway wants to find out sooner rather than later. It’s going to be an interesting week.
Schefter’s thoughts backup reports that came out on Sunday that said the Broncos were open to trading veteran wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. Other reports and rumors also name linebacker Brandon Marshall, cornerback Chris Harris Jr., and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders as other Broncos players reportedly on the block. This statement by Adam Schefter should be a “no shit” sort of statement but there are Broncos fans out there hoping the team makes a move for a Patrick Peterson. That would be an excellent addition to this defense, however, General Manager John Elway is on the verge of blowing this team up. Adding veteran pieces is not what he is looking to do. He is looking to create cap space and shed the team of some veteran contracts.
“We have a big game next Sunday at KC, and every game is different. But, when you win in this league, you have this feeling that you can’t lose again, and when you lose, it’s really opposite. You feel like you can’t win again. So, for our football team, winning this game was important.”
Career games with 4+ TD passes (includes playoffs)— Scott Kacsmar (@FO_ScottKacsmar) October 22, 2018
Patrick Mahomes - 4
Alex Smith - 4
Joe Flacco - 4
Kirk Cousins - 4
Terry Bradshaw - 4
Troy Aikman - 4
Carson Wentz - 4
Otto Graham - 4
Bob Griese - 4
With so many questions in and around the Denver Broncos, I asked Shasta to do some Q & A with us to share with us some coaching perspective on what has been going on so far this season with the Broncos
“The first three weeks, we gave up 3.2 [yards] a carry. We’ve had really two bad weeks, and it’s really with our nickel defense. We have to fix that and obviously play in more fronts and fix it that way. It comes down to players fitting and tackling.”
Prior to the Cardinals game I looked at the Broncos personnel groupings in an attempt to circle around to who or what was responsible for the woeful run defense. It’s a work in progress and something I plan to go back to once time allows, but Isaac Yiadom or Tramaine Brock are a part of every single group but one, a weird 3-safety base group that faced 3 plays this season.
Links from around the West...
Oakland didn’t let Amari Cooper go for a low price, though. Many were curious what it would take to pry the former first-round pick away from the Raiders and we now know. Dallas reportedly traded away a first-round pick to acquire him.
Jon Gruden has yet to address WR Amari Cooper’s trade with team. Didn’t mention it during practice or in his address afterward. Expected to do so Wednesday morning at next team meeting. Some players saw Cooper be pulled off field. Didn’t know until checked phones in locker room.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) October 22, 2018
It’s a fascinating price for a receiver who has struggled to produce for the last 20 games (3.5 catches and 48 receiving yards per game in that span, with eight total touchdowns) and comes with a big price tag attached to the fifth-year option of his rookie deal next year. The Cowboys are backing themselves into a corner. They need to sign Cooper to a long-term contract, or the pick they traded away will have truly been wasted.
If you called 31 teams and said "give me a receiver for a first round pick," you would probably get offered like 10 better than Amari Cooper in the first hour.— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) October 22, 2018
The former second-round pick signed a five-year, $125 million extension with Oakland back in June 2017. That’s a hefty price to pay for a struggling quarterback. Then again, there’s a lot of quarterback-needy teams out there. One squad in Florida comes to mind first.
If traded this week, QB Derek Carr would bring a $4.35M salary/cap to a new team. Then cap hits of $20M, $19M, $19.6M, & $19.8M thru 2022 with free outs each year.— Spotrac (@spotrac) October 22, 2018
Car would leave behind $20.6M of dead cap to the #Raiders in in 2018 & $7.5M in 2019.https://t.co/xl4ZmJNsB0
It’s unlikely the Jaguars can afford to trade for Carr because of the new deal Bortles signed in February. Unless they can find a willing partner to take on his contract they’re sort of stuck.
So where does that leave the Raiders? Right now, Gruden can choose between Doug Martin, DeAndre Washington, and Jalen Richard. So how do the players match up? First off, Martin is the logical choice to see more snaps while Lynch is on the shelf.
Going into Sunday night’s game, Patrick Mahomes had already thrown for more passing yards in his first seven NFL games (2149) than any other modern-era quarterback had in their first seven games. After Sunday night — with 2507 — he still holds the record for eight games. Going into Sunday night, Warner held the record for the most touchdown passes (21) thrown in his first eight games. Mahomes — with 22 over eight games — now holds that record, too.
“Honestly, we’ve had great teams every year with great potential,” Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford, who recorded his fifth sack in the game, said. “It seems this year what’s different this year, I don’t know how to say it, it’s just the feeling. It’s what you can’t explain. I’ll tell you what, though, this was a big game. I don’t think anyone wanted to say it, this was a big game because we had a good start last year like this and just to really get over the hump. We don’t want to say it or peak too soon. But you take it game-by-game.
Want to be a Super Bowl contender? Fine. Then you at least have to play decent defense some of the time. The Chiefs, who vaulted to 6-1, turned in their best 60 minutes of the season on that side of the ball against the Bengals, who fell to 4-3. The 10 points were the Bengals’ season-low. Bengals QB Andy Dalton had a rough night when he wasn’t able to find A.J. Green open. Dalton completed 15-of-29 passes for 141 yards, a touchdown and a pick before being pulled late for backup Jeff Driskel. Green caught seven balls for 117 of those yards; he and Joe Mixon were about the only decent things going for a Bengals offense that had 178 yards from scrimmage and five plays that lost yardage the first three quarters.
NFL Week 7 Grades: Lions get an ‘A’ for big road win; Jaguars get an ‘F’ for ugly home loss - CBSSports.com
Chargers: B+ The Chargers didn’t have Melvin Gordon, but they didn’t need him thanks to two long bombs from Philip Rivers. The Chargers quarterback threw for 306 yards, with 125 of those yards coming on just two passes: A 75-yard touchdown to Tyrell Williams and a 55-yard score to Mike Williams. It’s a good thing that Rivers had his long ball going in London because he got no help from a ground game that produced just 47 yards. This game marked just the third time since 2010 that the Chargers have won after finishing with less than 50 yards rushing.
Chiefs: A+ The Chiefs offense has put up some huge numbers this season, but nothing tops what they did on Sunday night. Against the Bengals, the Chiefs put up a season high in points (45) and a season high in total yards (551). The yardage total was the Chiefs’ highest ever under Andy Reid and the team’s highest overall since 2004. Although Patrick Mahomes put up some eye-popping numbers (358 yards, four touchdown passes), Kareem Hunt stole the show with 181 total yards and three touchdowns. Oh, and let’s not forget that the Chiefs defense also had their best performance of the season, holding the Bengals to just 10 points and 239 total yards. To put that total in perspective, this game marked the first time all season the Chiefs even held an opponent under 350 total yards.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers A surprise scratch against the Titans with a hamstring injury, Gordon will push to be in the lineup again after the team’s bye week. Austin Ekeler managed just 42 rushing yards with Gordon out of the lineup. “Obviously we’re better with Melvin Gordon,” Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said. “But I felt like I had to protect him today because I don’t want this to be a lingering thing. I want to get him back for Seattle, and he’s got a bye week off, so he’ll be rehabbing, getting healthy, and hopefully we’ll have a full-speed Melvin back in a couple weeks.” -- Eric Williams
A look at news from the rest of the NFL...
Sorry Broncos Country, but ESPN doesn’t consider Denver a contender. Still a great piece by Barnwell though.
The Falcons, who have been hit hard by injuries, improved to 3-4 heading into the their bye week. The Falcons saw another starter, right guard Brandon Fusco, leave the game with a right ankle injury. He couldn’t put his weight on his leg.
Every year there’s a team that just can’t escape the injury bug. Sorry Falcons, better luck next year.
‘THROW IT TO ODELL!’ | Giants’ Pat Shurmur’s frustrations over Eli Manning boil over ... again (VIDEO) | NJ.com
For the second consecutive week, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur was caught by the broadcast cameras showing his frustration over a missed throw by quarterback Eli Manning.
Really believe Shurmur was great last year in Minnesota with both play design and calling. Think he could be doing great things with this offense but considering it was a top-down organizational mandate that 2018 would be an Eli apology tour, he knew what he was getting into.— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) October 23, 2018
Patrick Peterson wants Cardinals to trade him: Here are five contenders who should call Arizona now - CBSSports.com
1. Chiefs: It’s a good thing that Chiefs have a high-flying offense, because right now, their defense isn’t really built to stop anyone. Through seven weeks, the Chiefs are ranked 31st overall in the NFL in passing defense (They were actually ranked dead last before Sunday, but moved up one spot after holding the Bengals to just 174 passing yards). After trading away Marcus Peters during the offseason, adding Patrick Peterson to replace him would show that the Chiefs are serious about making a Super Bowl run.
No. Just no.
Patriots Showing Interest In Trading For Patrick Peterson, Per Cornerback | New England Patriots | NESN.com
The Patriots currently have just over $5.2 million in salary cap room. They’ll need an excess of cap space just to finish out the season to pay out not-likely-to-be-earned roster bonuses. So, the Patriots would have to free up money just to make the trade unless the Cardinals made it easier to deal the cornerback by eating dead cap space and converting base salary into a signing bonus. The Cardinals currently have $8.4 million in salary cap room.
Patrick Peterson would bring a $6.47M salary/cap to a new team if traded this week, leaving behind $8.48M of dead cap to the #Cardinals in 2018 & another $1.27M in 2019. He's signed thru 2020. https://t.co/1uX5IsF6wh https://t.co/QUGaK7TuWy— Spotrac (@spotrac) October 22, 2018
That question of value is often the crux of the case against running backs, in terms of their place in the MVP conversation and the capital that should be spent on them in both the draft and free agency: They’re seen as replaceable. No matter how talented a given running back is, he’s still viewed as just another cog in the offensive machine. If a team has the right infrastructure, that cog can be switched out, and the machine will keep on chugging. And for most NFL offenses, that’s true.
I mean, Bortles is what he is, right? He can look great at times, and at other times he can look like he has no idea what to do with the ball, and the main problem is a lack of consistency that makes him tough to trust. But the Jags extended him last offseason anyway, even knowing all of that and with Kirk Cousins really interested in taking their phone call. Bortles is their guy. Could they conceivably trade for someone like Sam Bradford or Tyrod Taylor at the deadline? Sure, but would that make anything better?
• While O’Brien talked, J.J. Watt was still getting treatment at the Texans facility, a necessity now after injuries robbed him of most of the last two seasons. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year’s routine just to get ready physically is, in O’Brien’s words, “incredible.”
• Johnathan Joseph is another one, 13 years deep into his NFL career, for whom getting physically prepared to play is a battle on a weekly basis. And this week, he was fighting through a shoulder injury sustained during last week’s win over Buffalo.
• Safety Andre Hal returned on Sunday for his first game since being diagnosed with lymphoma in June.
The bus ride should have virtually no adverse effect on Watson, as it’s not like he’s traveling via Greyhound. This was essentially a rock band tour bus – with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and ability to play video games and study film. The worry over flying will be gone by the Texans’ next road trip for their Nov. 4 game in Denver. The thin air a mile high will have the Texans’ doctors watching Watson closely, but that will be four weeks from the original injury, so there should be little (if any) affect on Weston.
With Wilson and Stills out, the Dolphins will rely even more on Danny Amendola, who is leading the team with 30 catches but is averaging just 9.8 yards per catch. Jakeem Grant will surely get more playing time as well, and the Dolphins may now use DeVante Parker, whose agent blasted coach Adam Gase after Parker was deactivated on Sunday.
“It’s just one game. We’ve got another one next week,” Dalton said. “As much as this one sucks, like I said, everything’s still right there. We’re in a great position. We’ve got to go take advantage of it.”
Steelers owner Art Rooney II said that he didn’t anticipate Bell being traded, and if Bell doesn’t report before next Tuesday’s trade deadline, that’s a moot point. But there could still be some lingering disagreement about whether he’d be subject to a roster exemption when he gets back, which would pay him less than his $855,000 per week.
Sorting the Sunday Pile: Conservative Garrett sinks Cowboys again, Cam is clutch and more Week 7 - CBSSports.com
It was stunningly conservative. With 12 seconds left on the clock, the Cowboys could have spiked the ball immediately to stop the clock at 11 seconds. Then they could have run a quick play depending on the coverage, as Tony Romo explained on the CBS broadcast.
“The biggest thing after we got ourselves into field goal range was to try to get up there and clock the ball, preserve that last timeout and then give us the freedom,” Garrett said. “I think we were trying to get the ball down to 12 seconds. So once we got down to that point, the biggest thing that we wanted to do was maximize the field goal opportunity and run the ball, make some yards, use the timeout and then kick the game-tying field goal.”
Dallas Cowboys: Jerry Jones comments on report that Cowboys are researching, considering trade for Raiders WR Amari Cooper | SportsDay
”In a trade, it takes two,” Jones said. “You look at the areas of really alleged need.”
Yesterday was Mock Draft Monday, so I took a look at who The Draft Network pegged to the Broncos...
14. Denver Broncos PICK: Will Grier, QB, West Virginia Case Keenum was never more than a stop-gap option for Denver. With his contract expiring at the end of next season, the Broncos would be wise to look into a successor that they can develop for a year before taking over the starting reigns. Will Grier has been a bit up and down this season, but he is a smooth operator who can spray the ball to all areas of the field. If he can develop his pocket presence, the drive he places on passes will be more than adequate for the NFL. Likely the next quarterback option after Lock, Grier could have a future as the face of a franchise.
What do you think Broncos Country?