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Broncos' Biggest Winner of the Jerry Jeudy Trade

The Denver Broncos just opened the way for Marvin Mims Jr. to thrive as a receiver.

As Sean Payton's ruthless tear-down of the Denver Broncos roster continues, most fans hope that the younger talent will get a chance to flourish. Keeping up with the Broncos' front-office gymnastics this past week has been exhausting. 

However, making the big, bold moves to gain back precious salary cap space was always in the cards for Denver. One such move saw Jerry Jeudy's inconsistent four-year tenure in the Mile High City come to an abrupt end.

Obtaining two late-round picks from the Cleveland Browns is less important than dumping Jeudy's $13 million salary cap hit off the Broncos' stretched finances. Who knows? In time, the opportunity afforded to the second-year Marvin Mims Jr. might end up being the most important consequence of Jeudy's departure. 

Mims is already a Pro Bowler as a kick returner after his extremely productive rookie year earned him the trip to Orlando. Carving out a bigger offensive role for Mims would always be difficult while Jeudy was still in Denver, but no such roadblocks remain for Payton.

"I really think the only thing that really stopped his progress as a receiver was us and trying to find roles," Payton said recently of Mims at the NFL Combine. "He's playing the same position as Jerry."

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Jeudy might not be the only familiar face to depart the Broncos' wide receiver corps this offseason, given the uncertainty surrounding veteran Courtland Sutton. Tim Patrick's returns figure to help, both by lowering the salary cap hit and maintaining some kind of essential veteran leadership within the rapid youth movement happening in the Broncos locker room.

Payton seems to have confidence in Mims' ability to translate his special teams success over to offense.

"I think you're going to see a lot of growth with this player," Payton said previously of Mims' development. "He's tough, he can run and we're certainly excited that we have him."

Payton made a point of criticizing himself for not incorporating Mims' talents more often last season, and it's a head-scratcher after hearing how excited he is about the young receiver's potential. Payton's frustration was probably a combination of Mims' relative inexperience and the sheer reliance on him to perform on special teams.

The Broncos may have waited too long to trade Jeudy and get the maximum value, although GM George Paton had a golden opportunity last year. In hindsight, shipping Jeudy to Cleveland at last season's trade deadline would have delivered a much better return.

Furthermore, had Mims been forced into the lineup to replace Jeudy's production early on, he'd be much further into his developmental trajectory as a bonafide receiver. Mims' arrival made KJ Hamler expendable last offseason, so it'll be interesting to see how Payton utilizes the 21-year-old's deep speed in his second training camp this summer.

Solving these riddles will be complicated, especially with the quarterback position currently a black hole. Without some kind of cohesive strategy under center, the Broncos risk curtailing Mims' burgeoning development.

Dovetailing Mims' pivotal role as an elite return man with the substantial increase in the number of snaps he'll receive will be a major question Coach Payton must answer. It's a complex puzzle that the Broncos head coach will be keen to solve in 2024.

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