The Denver Broncos entered training camp with significant potential and good depth at several positions. Combine that with the injuries that are being sustained across the NFL training camp landscape, and the Broncos now have the opportunity, and flexibility to move three veteran players in trade.
If Denver's front office can get some draft capital from the three players we'll talk about today, it would be a significant development and set the team up nicely for the future while still competing for a title in the present.
Malik Reed | OLB
Reed is a valuable player in pass-rush situations. He's been a long-time starter, including the entire 2020 season when Von Miller was lost to injury, where Reed finished as the team leader in sacks.
Reed could fetch a mid-round draft pick if offered up in trade. He is playing on a one-year restricted free-agent contract that carries no dead money, and it's relatively inexpensive. A starting-caliber pass rusher with a manageable contract will be intriguing to teams that need help on the edge.
The Broncos have several players vying for the remaining backup spots at rush linebacker. The team cannot afford to lose players by keeping Reed.
Second-round selection Nik Bonitto is the future, Baron Browning has been moved from inside linebacker to edge rusher, and the team has been fawning over his ability to get after the passer. The last roster spot at rush linebacker features a competition between Jonathon Cooper and Christoper Allen. All four have potential and youth.
The issue with letting Reed go is that Randy Gregory is not fully healed from his offseason surgery. That could cause the Broncos to consider keeping Reed because of his experience. It would be a risk to trade him, but in the end, the team needs to have confidence in its ability to find young talent in the draft.
Graham Glasgow | OL
Coming to the Broncos via free agency in 2020, Glasgow has been a solid starter, but one could argue that he has not lived up to the four-year, $44 million contract he received. He suffered a significant injury in Week 7 last season, and could still be suffering from the lingering effects of that injury.
Glasgow is currently running with the second and third team in training camp. It appears the battle for the right guard position is between Quinn Meinerz and Netane Muti.
Glasgow has some value as a player who can be a backup at center and guard, but he may have more value as a one-year starter for an O-line-needy team. His contract is not unreasonable in the wake of accepting a restructure earlier this year, and if the Broncos are lucky, they could get a late-round pick in trade.
There could be some trepidation in the front office due to the health concerns with Billy Turner and Tom Compton, forcing the team to hang on to Glasgow as insurance until those two return.
Mike Purcell | DL
When healthy, Purcell is a monster against the run. This season he appears to be in good health and ready to return to his 2019 form.
The issues are that DeShawn Williams is pushing for the starting role and that the team signed D.J. Jones in free agency. With those two players and Dre’Mont Jones locking down the starting spots, the Broncos don't have to keep Purcell as a backup.
The team has invested draft picks on defensive linemen over the last three years to bolster the unit. Earlier this spring, Eyioma Uwazurike was drafted in the fourth and Matt Henningsen in the sixth round.
The Broncos also invested a seventh-round selection Marquiss Spencer in 2021 and have McTelvin Agim, a third-round draft choice in 2020, as a holder over from the previous regime.
It would be risky to go entirely with a youth movement as D-line depth, which may force the team to keep Purcell around. However, if a late-round draft pick could be obtained for his services, the front office should pull the trigger.
The Broncos have significant potential in their young players at each of these position groups. To let that potential walk away to cling to a few veterans who aren't likely to be starters or future pieces would be a misstep by the front office.
If any draft capital can be obtained, it would be a big step in filling out future draft classes that are set to be a bit light in the wake of the Russell Wilson trade.
Follow Thomas on Twitter @ThomasHallNFL.
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