Let’s just go ahead and admit that the Denver Broncos season is over. At 2-5, there is certainly a small chance they could turn things around. The issue is Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett. No reasonable person based on what we’ve seen over the first seven games of the season would be certain Hackett can turn things around. Nothing he has called on the field or done in practice has changed anything offensively.
Right now, the Broncos have fewer touchdowns through 7 games than any team in franchise history. Meanwhile, their defense has given up just 7 touchdowns through 7 games. They have held teams under 20 points in all but a single game. The offense just continues to do the same thing every week... suck.
All that leads me to believe the season is over and General Manager George Paton should be circling the Monday after the final game to begin anew with new staff and new system for franchise quarterback Russell Wilson. That means he’s going to need some draft capital in the 2023 NFL Draft as well.
Paton even guaranteed he’d pick up more picks by next years’ draft back in April when he said, “We wanted to pick up picks for next year. I didn’t know how it would go. I’m happy we got a third. Would’ve liked to have maybe gotten a few more but it just didn’t work out. We were working the phones and once you get past the fourth round, it’s hard to get much value. We’re happy with the third—we have five [picks] next year. We’ll have a lot more than that, I guarantee it by the time the draft comes around.”
What better way to pick up more than ahead of the NFL’s November 1st trade deadline?
Let’s take a look at each of the four players already rumored to be on the trade block this week. I’ll start from my highest value trade to lowest value.
If Paton is serious about restocking Denver’s draft picks, then they’ll need to put some premium talent on deck. The best player the Broncos have that fits the mold of a good trade candidate (quality starter + rookie deal) would be Bradley Chubb. He is in his final year of his rookie deal, so that will hurt his overall trade value a bit, however, the Carolina Panthers were reportedly offered two first-round picks for their star edge rusher Brian Burns.
If two first-round picks is the going rate for an elite edge rusher, than I have to believe Chubb could net a late first round pick from a playoff contender. The floor is likely in the second round, especially since 32-year old Von Miller get a second and a third last year at the trade deadline.
One team I would keep an eye on is the Philadelphia Eagles. They were linked to the Panthers and Brian Burns before Carolina put a resounding ‘no’ on any offer for Burns. They are one of the few teams with multiple first-round picks and they are certainly in contention and need a pass rusher. If Denver is going to wiggle a team out of a late first-round pick for Chubb, the Eagles could be their best chance at one.
Projection: Somewhere between a late first-rounder to a second-rounder plus later picks.
Another player the Broncos have received calls about is wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. He is coming off a big game with Brett Rypien at quarterback and is a guy who could generate enough interest to net Paton a second-round pick. Wide receiver is also a position group - when healthy - that Denver actually has a lot of talent at. Moving Jeudy wouldn’t hurt too badly in the long-term view of things.
Three teams that I think could be in play here would be the obvious one of Aaron Rodgers and the wide receiver deficient Green Bay Packers. The Packers would be helped the most by adding a receiver at the deadline. Other teams that I think should be in play for a receiver at the deadline would be the Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, and New York Giants.
The only issue here is that compensation might be difficult to work out. There are plenty of other wide receivers being shopped right now with Chase Claypool, Brandin Cooks, and Jeudy’s teammate KJ Hamler all apparently on the trade block.
Projection: Late second round pick or multiple picks in later rounds.
Of the four known Broncos’ players on the trade block, I think KJ Hamler might be the least likely to be moved. His injury in 2021 and the lack of production to start this season will limit his overall value to other teams. Frankly, I’m glad because he is a guy who can fully take the top off of a defense and once he has some chemistry with Russell Wilson he’ll be really good.
If a team does coming calling, then Paton has to decide if a middle-round type compensation is worth it to move on from Hamler. Teams might be looking to buy low on a guy of Hamler’s ability.
Projection: Third to fourth round picks.
With the emergence of rookie Greg Dulcich, the Broncos have been looking to move Albert Okwuegbunam since Dulcich’s return. He has been inactive for two-straight games and figured to remain that way until the trade deadline. The team to watch here is probably the Buffalo Bills. They have Dawson Knox, but could use another pass catching tight end behind him.
Projection: A middle round draft pick.