Broncos Tried to Acquire CB Darius Slay from Lions via Trade; Detroit Fielding Calls

Chad Jensen

The Denver Broncos are gearing up for an offseason in which GM John Elway will be armed to the teeth with cap space and draft picks. The Broncos are working to complete a mini-rebuild post-Super Bowl 50, and with the biggest question mark at quarterback ostensibly answered, the time will soon come to put the finishing touches on a new roster. 

One glaring hole is the cornerback position. With Chris Harris, Jr. set to hit the open waters of unrestricted free agency, the Broncos are going to be in the market to add some talent to the cornerback room. 

While there's always the chance that Harris will re-sign, the Broncos are covering their bases to find additional options in the event that a new deal isn't reached with the four-time Pro Bowler. One name to keep an eye on is Detroit Lions' CB Darius Slay. 

Slay is not poised to be a free agent but there is a chance he could be available on the trading block. Slay's name was floated last week as a possible trade target of Denver's by 9NEWS' insider Mike Klis and based on a new report, it sounds like there could be some fire at the base of that plume of smoke. 

With ESPN's Adam Schefter breaking the news that the Lions have spoken to "multiple teams" about Slay's availability via trade, NFL insider Benjamin Allbright offered up the reminder that the Broncos have expressed interest in acquiring Detroit's three-time Pro Bowl corner in the past, as was originally reported by Klis back in December. 

The idea is this; if the Broncos attempted a trade with the Lions ahead of the 2019 trade deadline, perhaps Denver is one of the "multiple teams" who've contacted Detroit about Slay's current availability. Although the talks last fall ultimately died and weren't consummated, an interest in Slay on the part of the Broncos was genuine. 

As Schefter reported, any suitors for Slay's services now would not only have to be willing to compensate the Lions, but also the player. Slay would be looking for an extension. 

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If the Broncos were interested in a Harris-for-Slay trade last fall, there's a chance Elway would be willing to give up a premium-round draft pick to acquire Slay in 2020. The Broncos have to pay at least one veteran cornerback, whether it's Harris, or an outside guy. Considering Elway's interest less than six months ago, it's plausible to assume that Denver would be willing to compensate Slay now. 

Acquiring a true lockdown cornerback that can shut down an opponent's No. 1 receiver, like Slay did to Courtland Sutton in Week 16 last year (4 rec. on 10 targets for 41 yards), will come at a premium. Elway's never been afraid to pay top-dollar to a cornerback. 

According to Ryan O'Halloran of the Denver Post, it would take a second- to third-round pick to nudge the Lions into letting Slay go, which would have to be quickly followed by an extension. Slay would want top-of-the-market money but the Broncos happen to be the proud owners of three third-round picks in 2020. 

Slay just turned 29, so if the Broncos are weighing the risks of paying a No. 1 cornerback, the reward would seem to outweigh the downside compared to the soon-to-be 31-year-old Harris. 

Meanwhile, Harris is intent on testing the market and seeing what type of interest exists out there. The Broncos tried to keep Harris around, offering him a three-year, $36 million extension near the trade deadline last year, but the player dismissed it as a low-ball attempt to pressure him. That's to say nothing of Harris' holdout during OTAs last year which resulted in the Broncos sweetening his 2019 salary by more than $3M. 

There's a lot of water under that bridge between Harris and the Broncos, which is why many in the know believe he's destined to depart in free agency. If the Broncos are ready to get out of the Harris business, they'll have to find a starting alternative. 

Bryce Callahan is under contract for 2020 but he still has to prove he can bounce back from that lingering foot injury that cost him all of 2019 and resulted in yet another surgery. The Broncos can't count on him, which means they'll have to be players in free agency or via trade. 

The Slay situation in Detroit is picking up momentum, and the buzz connecting the Broncos to it is too much to brush off. Suffice to say, we'll be keeping a close eye on this situation as it unfolds. 

Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen and @MileHighHuddle.

Comments (8)
Brew77
Brew77

Good info Chad you pointed out some of my concerns in trading for Slay on top is Detroit really trying to trade him or are they just seeing what his value is? Like you pointed out most expect it would take a third but I think the Lions are looking for more like a second if not more. And like you said whoever trades for Slay is going to have to pony up a new contract as well and I’ve read he is looking for 14 to 15 million a year and are you really wanting to give that kind of money to a guy who just turned 29? Slay is a good option but there are other options that will present themselves namely A.J. Bouye who is said to be a cap casualty in Jacksonville it hasn’t happened yet but is expected. As well as Prince Akumara who has had success with Fangio with the Bears and just last week it was written Byron Jones was the Broncos guy. Right now it’s all speculation I guess we will just have to wait until March 16 to see what happens.

No. 1-7
Dick Hanky
Dick Hanky

I don't have issue with a 2 year $28-30 million contract until you figure in the draft pick. Ouch. Maybe a player and a 4th? I think he's better than B Jones, Bouye, or CHJ last year. Akumara should get some consideration regardless.

broncobuckeyenomad
broncobuckeyenomad

Save the draft pick and pick up B Jones. Younger and probably a little cheaper...

EchoChamber
EchoChamber

No. I like him yet not for the draft capital that the Lions will get John "free spender" Elway to willingly cough up for Slay. Value draft picks! You have many needs. You control costs too that way.

OL, DL, LB who can cover, WR2 and 3, CB, backup QB, TE2 unless you believe in T.F.

Arbbq
Arbbq

Why am I ‘m thinking this article is based on a questionable conjecture? I could come up with my own conjectures like perhaps Callahan is not as healthy as hoped. And perhaps we need two good CB’s since besides Harris, we currently have none. Perhaps Elway and Fangio really think Harris can still be a major contributor to the secondary if given some help?

broncofan55555
broncofan55555

A third round pick plus maybe a later round pick would be reasonable and a good move I believe. To get an experienced lock down corner is extremely valuable. If Callahan can return to form plus Slay plus Simmons and Jackson in the backfield plus Alexander and maybe Schobert behind the line, WOW, the return of the No Fly Zone without any of the original guys.

Ringneck1
Ringneck1

No to Slay. Good player but cost is much too high for a 29 yr old.


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