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State of the Broncos roster: Wide receiver corps has many questions

For our third installment of our State of the Broncos series, we will take a look at the wide receiver position.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Detroit Lions David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

With our quarterback and running back State of the Broncos reviews in the books, our third installment of the series will focus on the wide receiver room.

In 2023, the Denver Broncos had one of the highest-paid receiving corps in the National Football League, but the unit’s production certainly didn’t meet the financial investment. A lot of questions surround the position group this offseason and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a complete makeover as a whole.

Let’s take a deeper look at those on the roster and what fans should expect for next season.

Courtland Sutton

Contract Status for 2024: Signed through 2025
Age: 28
2023 Statistics: 59 catches on 90 targets, 772 yards, 10 touchdowns (career high), 66.5% catch-rate (career high)

Sutton’s 2023 season was a little bit of a revival for the former Pro-Bowl receiver. His 10 touchdowns and 65.6% catch-rate were career highs. He had numerous highlight reel catches throughout the season and was arguably Denver’s most reliable target. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to break the 1,000-yard mark and missed some time at the end of the year.

He has been discussed as a potential trade option for a while now and I wouldn’t expect that to change this offseason. I’m not sure exactly what type of compensation to expect, but my guess would be at best a fourth-round selection. If the Broncos do indeed draft a new quarterback, having a reliable option like Sutton would be important. However, the argument could be made that paying him over $17 million next season (and in 2025) seems too rich relative to production.

As far as I can tell, I’d chalk up his future in Denver as highly uncertain.

Jerry Jeudy

Contract Status for 2024: Under Contract — Fifth-year Option
Age: 24
2023 Statistics: 54 catches on 87 targets, 758 yards, 2 touchdowns, 62.1% catch-rate

After being selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Jeudy’s career arc hasn’t turned out as fans had hoped. While he had issues with drops early on in his career, that has mostly been corrected. I’m usually not one to make excuses for players, but the continuous quarterback carousel in the Mile High City and sub-par quarterback play over the past four seasons hasn’t done Jeudy any favors.

I think he is a perfect fit for Sean Payton’s offense and would be a lethal target in a passing attack with competent quarterback play. Routes over the middle of the field and slot-options concepts are backbones of Payton’s scheme, but that is something Wilson was good at this past season in Denver. Like Sutton, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him floated in trade discussions.

The franchise apparently scoffed at offers made for him during the season and I can’t imagine his value would be higher with only one year (fifth-year option) remaining on his contract and a guarantee salary of ~ $13M due to him. If I was a betting man, I’d guess that Jeudy is the most likely of Denver’s “big ticket” wide receivers to be on the roster come opening day of 2024.

Marvin Mims

Contract Status for 2024: Under Contract through 2026
Age: 21
2023 Statistics: 22 receptions on 33 targets, 377 receiving yards, 17.1 yards per reception, 1 touchdown, 66.7% catch-rate

Mims had a hot start to the season, but fizzled out in the Broncos’ passing attack as the season went on. He earned Pro Bowl honors as a return man and definitely showcased top-notch playmaking ability in that regard as well as being a deep threat. I’m hoping he can expand his route tree in 2024 and make more of an impact on offense.

With that in mind, I’m not sure he will ever be a receiver who garners a high volume of targets, but considering the Broncos traded up for him—anything short of 75 targets next season would be a big disappointment. I honestly feel it was acceptable that he only had 33 targets over the course of the entire season. That’s just awful. I’m hoping that he has a much better sophomore campaign and think he can still be an important part of the team’s offensive plans moving forward.

Brandon Johnson

Contract Status for 2024: Under Contract through 2024
Age: 25
2023 Statistics: 19 catches on 30 targets, 284 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns, 63.3% catch-rate

In his second season with the Broncos, Johnson showed off his playmaking ability with four touchdowns and averaged nearly 15 yards per reception. I thought he looked good in his limited role in the offense and definitely has the opportunity for an expanded look in 2024. It’s unlikely that he will ever become a top option in the team’s passing attack, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he got more targets next season.

Tim Patrick

Contract Status for 2024: Under Contract through 2024
Age: 30
2023 Statistics: Did not play due to injury

For the second season in a row, Tim Patrick suffered a season ending injury and wasn’t able to contribute for the Broncos. It’s heart-breaking for sure and Patrick did everything the right way before earning his contract extension a few years ago. It’s certainly a possibility Denver keeps him with a restructure, but there is no way they are going to pay him $15 million in salary for next season. His future status with the team is certainly up in the air.

Lil’ Jordan Humphrey

Contract Status for 2024: Free Agent
Age: 25
2023 Statistics: 13 catches on 19 targets, 161 yards, 12.5 yards per reception, 3 touchdowns, 68.5% catch-rate

Humphrey didn’t have a huge role with the team in 2023, but he produced when the ball came his way. He is currently scheduled to be a free agent, though I would expect Payton to bring him back due to his knowledge and experience in his system. As a fifth or sixth option in the receiving corps—it’s hard to do much worse. I’d like to see him back next season.

All in all, a lot of uncertainty surrounds the Broncos’ wide receiver room. As I said all season long, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Denver move on from two of Sutton, Jeudy and Patrick. Doing so would save them a lot of cap room and give them some flexibility to target other positions of need as well. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out, but outside of a few players mentioned I expect Denver’s wide receiver room to be a blank canvas waiting for its final touches via free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft.