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5 Reasons Tim Patrick's Extension Doesn't Slam Door on Courtland Sutton Returning

Fans are wondering what the Tim Patrick extension means for Courtland Sutton's future with the Broncos.

Tim Patrick undoubtedly earned his three-year extension from the Denver Broncos. The veteran wideout has been reliable for the Broncos' offense since 2018 and has consistently risen to the occasion in relief of injuries. 

However, this puts another soon-to-be free agent wide receiver in a questionable spot. Courtland Sutton, Denver's 2018 second-round pick, is set to be a free agent after this season. 

There was a belief that the Broncos would ultimately choose to retain only one of either Patrick or Sutton. With the choice ostensibly made, it would mean Sutton is on his way out, right? Not necessarily. 

There are many reasons why fans shouldn't jump the gun on thinking Sutton is gone just because Patrick was extended. Let's break it down. 

1. Paton has Already Vouched for Sutton

The first reason revolves around GM George Paton and what he's said numerous times and how he follows through with what he says. 

In this case, on the doorstep of training camp, Paton referred to Sutton "a core guy." The GM has been generally transparent which would point to the wideout garnering an extension at some point. When you look at how Paton has gushed about Sutton multiple times, it only adds to it.

“Those are two of our core guys," Paton said in July, including Bradley Chubb. "I've said it a number of times—we're going to keep our core guys. That's our goal. We're going draft and develop, and we're going to take care of our own... At the right time, we're going to try and get these guys done and they know that.”

2. Denver has the Means & Opportunity

With Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler still having some cost-controlled years left on their rookie deals, it wouldn't be difficult for the Broncos to pay both Sutton and Patrick especially considering that Paton is expected to have $56 million in cap space in 2022 per Over The Cap. Paton came to Denver from the Minnesota Vikings — a team that has shown a willingness to pay multiple receivers. 

The key here is the fact that the term on Patrick's deal is only three years. Without seeing the breakdown of the contract, the main factor here will be Jeudy. 

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3. Plenty of Time Before Jeudy Comes Due

Jeudy will be a free agent in three years (assuming his fifth-year option is exercised), coinciding with Patrick's contract expiring (assuming he plays all three years). The Patrick deal could be a natural transition into paying Jeudy and letting the veteran hit free agency in 2025.

If it breaks down favorable for the Broncos, the team could potentially look to move on from Patrick after the second year of his deal and re-sign Hamler because he'll be a free agent by then. Hamler is questionable to start the season next year because of the knee injury he suffered in Week 3. 

There have been some rumors that Hamler may miss upwards of half the 2022 season so Jeudy could be huge for whoever is at quarterback. The most significant reason why the Patrick extension doesn't close the door on Sutton returning is the veteran quarterback market. 

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4. QB Recruiting Tool

Next to the offensive line, the most enticing aspect for a quarterback is what weapons he'd have around him. Denver being four-deep and versatile with its receiver skill-sets would be highly enticing for any quarterback (*cough* Aaron Rodgers) as he wouldn't have to worry about who he'd be throwing to. 

5. QB Buffer

If Denver doesn't land a veteran quarterback and opts to draft a rookie, what would make his NFL transition easier? Having the weapons that can bring him along with his development. With a rookie quarterback contract, Denver could easily afford to pay other players, like two of its top-four receivers. 

Bottom Line

So does the Patrick extension mean that Sutton is done in Denver? No. It might not be set in stone that Sutton will be back in 2022. All things considered, though, it wouldn't be shocking to see Denver hit Sutton with the franchise tag if Paton can't get the wideout to agree to an extension in time. 

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