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Broncos trade Trinity Benson to the Lions, acquire Jonas Griffith from the 49ers

George Paton is wheeling and dealing this morning.

Denver Broncos v Minnesota Vikings
Benson was a standout throughout camp.
Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

George Paton opened cutdown day with a bang. 9News’ Mike Klis has reported the Broncos traded wide receiver Trinity Benson and a 2023 sixth-round pick to the Detroit Lions for 2022 fifth and seventh round picks.

In a subsequent move, the Broncos’ general manager sent a 2022 sixth-round pick and 2023 seventh-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers for linebacker Jonas Griffith, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported.

Benson is a former undrafted free agent out of East Central University who has spent the last two years on the Broncos’ practice squad. By all reports he was having a terrific camp and as recently as Thursday Tom McMahon made it sound as if he’d be a core member of the special teams.

Moving Benson comes after the Broncos waived wide receivers Seth Williams, Tyrie Cleveland and Kendall Hinton last night. There remains a distinct possibility one could be brought back.

As it stands, the Broncos currently have six wide receivers on the roster: Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, K.J. Hamler, Diontae Spencer and De’Mornay Pierson-El. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the receiver room from here, obviously.

Sutton is set to return from an ACL tear that limited him to 31 snaps in 2020. Hamler missed time during his rookie year because of hamstring issues and ultimately landed on Injured Reserve because of a concussion. Spencer is primarily a return specialist who has limited value to the offense because of his size limitations.

Pierson-El’s situation remains one to watch going forward. The veteran wide receiver joined the Broncos late in OTAs after stints with Washington, Oakland, and in the CFL, AAF, and XFL. An undrafted free agent who entered the NFL in 2018, he played 37 snaps for the Broncos in the preseason after a quiet training camp.

The move to acquire Griffith is aimed at shoring up McMahon’s coverage units after Vic Fangio was less than pleased with them throughout the preseason. A former undrafted free agent out of Indiana State, the 24-year-old is a standout athlete.

The Broncos’ special teams have finished 24th in the league by Football Outsiders’ DVOA stat the last two seasons. Clearly, something has to change if they’re going to try and compete for the playoffs this season. Adding the former 49ers linebacker seems to be the first step to address the issue.

Let’s hope it isn’t the last.