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Could Tim Patrick be Payton’s top receiver?

Nate Tice: The wideout has the goods the new head coach likes, says The Athletic.

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Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Sean Payton was anything but cryptic in how his Denver Broncos went after free agency - protecting the quarterback with a better O-line and more options in the running game.

“You can see, like you said, what Sean Payton’s kind of leaning into getting [Samaje] Perine, getting Manhertz the tight end, several offensive linemen,” The Athletic’s Nate Tice said on the Mina Kimes Show. “Really trying to inject that soundness in the run game with heavy play-action shots — I think we’re going to see a lot of that this year out of [Russell Wilson].”

But what the Broncos do with their wide receiver room is a little less obvious.

While rumors about trading either Jerry Jeudy or Courtland Sutton have swirled, there’s been a lot of speculation and no movement.

Payton said Broncos “weren’t interested” in trading either, but he also acknowledged that the calls will keep coming in. ESPN reporters Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano noted last week that the Broncos certainly aren’t hanging up on those calls.

“Denver needs picks and knows it could get something of value in return for one of those guys,” Graziano said.

So there’s always still a chance one or both wideouts ends up on another team next year.

Regardless, Tice was more interested in what the new head coach will do with Tim Patrick on his squad. The tall and husky receiver could just jump up to the top of the depth chart in a Sean Payton offense.

“I don’t know if he likes Jerry Jeudy or Courtland Sutton but I know that he’ll love Tim Patrick,” Tice said. “That is such a Sean Payton receiver — a power slot blocking his butt off up the middle and also just like a sound receiver. I know he’ll love him.”

Patrick missed the entire regular season last year after tearing his ACL during training camp.

Good news for Payton...last week the wideout told Steve Smith Sr. on the Cut To It podcast that he’s running routes and sprints ahead of OTAs coming soon.

“At this point, I’m cleared to do everything,” Patrick said. “At this point, I’m just doing repetition to get myself ready to play in a game.”

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