Last week’s bye was hardly a vacation for Denver Broncos GM George Paton, who inked wide receivers Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick to contract extensions just a few days apart. The first-year general manager awarded Sutton a four-year $61 million deal with $35M guaranteed while Patrick got three years for $30M with $18M guaranteed.
Between the two deals, Paton heavily invested $53M fully guaranteed into Denver's future offensive success. While Broncos Country rejoices in the emotional and financial commitment to Sutton — a Pro Bowl playmaker — and Patrick — a former undrafted underdog — there’s a forgotten man in the room.
Denver drafted the 22-year-old Florida native just one year ago with the No. 15 overall pick. The team touted Jeudy as the best receiver in a rich and deep class that included Henry Ruggs (Las Vegas), CeeDee Lamb (Dallas), Chase Claypool (Pittsburgh), and Justin Jefferson (Minnesota), all of whom have seen their NFL stock rise precipitously, outside of Jeudy’s former Alabama teammate, Ruggs, who was recently arrested for a tragic and fatal alleged DUI car accident last month.
NFL teams rarely commit to two receivers at the same time, much less allocate money for the future to sew up three wideouts. After sustaining a severe ankle injury earlier this season, the 6-foot-1, 192-pound Jeudy has hauled in 22 receptions for 228 yards, averaging 10.4 yards per catch.
His technical route running is widely lauded, and he was without question the MVP of training camp this past summer. But that was then — and now, the former All-American hasn’t scored a touchdown since 2020 and could soon be on the outside looking in terms of the Broncos' future.
On Monday, Paton foreshadowed potential changes this coming offseason when NFL free agency and the draft roll around, which was music to the ears of Denver's long-suffering fan base tired of what has been an irrelevant abyss of losing football.
"We have the resources to do whatever we want moving forward," Paton said. “We're going to have a lot of cap room; we're going to have cash. We have 11 draft picks... I always talk about flexibility, but we do have a lot of flexibility moving forward and we locked up two of our primary free agents."
Trade Asset to Land a Star QB
It's within reason to speculate that Paton could be very involved with any potential trade deals surrounding two former Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks in Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Seattle's Russell Wilson. But what would it cost to convince the Packers to hand over Rodgers or for the Seahawks to forfeit their favorite hero ‘Let Russ Cook?’
It would cost an unearthly sum of premium first-round draft picks and talent on the current roster. That’s where Jeudy comes into the mix as an enticing first-rounder who’d be heading into the third year on his rookie deal.
It’s been speculated that Packers' Pro Bowl wideout Davante Adams will likely test the market as an unrestricted free agent. It’s no secret that there’s no love lost between Green Bay GM Brian Gutekunst and Rodgers, along with Adams, as the Packers have hinted at 2021 being a sort of last dance on social media prior to the season.
Obtaining Jeudy via trade would greatly benefit Green Bay's successor Jordan Love, who’s been the man in waiting but isn’t quite there yet, something the Packers previously experienced with Brett Favre and Rodgers in the mid-2000s. Jeudy would be just one asset that could help facilitate a full rebuild and recovery for Green Bay's life post-Rodgers. That is, if Paton can drum up additional talent and draft capital.
Then there’s Wilson, aka ‘Mr. Unlimited', who’s been frustrated with the philosophical direction in Seattle for a few seasons now. Make no mistake, not everything as it seems when you see Wilson's blockbuster smile and nod as he could once again make waves about exiting Seattle.
Understand, I’m not advocating for Denver to jettison a young building block like Jeudy, a player with an abundance of talent. But quarterbacks win football games in the NFL and the Broncos are now paying a king’s ransom for two players at the same position, neither of which aresignal-callers.
There's no way Paton signs a third receiver, regardless of being a first-rounder, without having a quarterback on the field that can lead the Broncos to contend for a Super Bowl. Cheer for No. 10 as long as you can, Broncos Country, just keep an eye out for these possibilities in the future as we continue to chronicle Denver's pursuit of a franchise quarterback.
Follow Luke on Twitter @LukePattersonLP.
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