Could trading Eddie Royal bring the Broncos some defensive help? (Justin Edmonds/Getty)

To Trade or Not To Trade

The Broncos are facing a big decision in the head coach position in the following weeks.  The interviewing process has begun and the path for the Broncos’ future is beginning to take shape.  However, the road ahead will still be clouded by uncertainty regardless of who the Broncos hire to prowl the sidelines during game day.  With all this ambiguity comes the speculation of personnel decisions we have become so accustomed to during the McDaniels era.  Who is staying and who is going?

With this question of, “Who stays and who goes,” comes an even bigger question: just how exactly will some players be shown the door?  There are four ways to be removed from a team;

  1. Contract Expiration
  2. Retirement/Quit/Death
  3. Cut or Let go
  4. Traded

The first three that are mentioned don’t necessarily make the team better and the team gets nothing in return except possibly freed up salary cap.  But the idea of trading is to get equal value for that of which you are losing in the form of a team’s need.  To sum up what it was Josh McDaniels had said during the Jay Cutler fiasco, “No one is exempt from being traded.”  So do the Broncos trade?  And if so, who do they release?

There’s an article in the Denver Post that basically rates all the players on the 53 man roster that I find rather informative mainly because it is not the writer’s own opinion but the opinions of execs around the NFL.  My take on the overall ratings is that the Broncos are just not a team with that many talented players.  The biggest thing that got to me was the fact that the majority of the four players who were named elite were either injured or were still recovering from injury.  The Broncos just don’t have the players to be a Super Bowl contender, not even playoff competitive.  The defense is old and a lot of the offense is inexperienced.  Josh McDaniels failed to rebuild and his only accomplishment was that he single handedly dismantled the foundation that was left for him.  The new coach, whoever it may be, may very well have to look at this team and see it for what it’s worth along the trade spectrum.  Do the Broncos just throw their hands up and build through the draft or do they continue to build on the shaky foundation that is the Broncos?  Here’s a look at what are, in my opinion, some very realistic trade scenarios.

Champ Bailey for a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick and we also give them a 4th-rounder:  We all love Champ Bailey and no human being alive will argue this man’s talent.  But the recent stoppage in contract talks is not a good sign.  Champ Bailey’s discouragement and lack of desire to continue rebuilding is an even greater sign of disinterest to return.  The Broncos will be greatly discredited if they lose Champ for nothing.  They need to trade him.  Unless Champ makes it obvious he wishes to stay and the Broncos give him something he’s willing to sign, the Broncos could probably get at best a third round pick.  Depending on how great his demand is, teams will more than likely not be willing to part with a second rounder for an aged cornerback despite his skill and experience.  I know talk of trading Champ is like swallowing cough syrup, but the Broncos are sick and they need as much medicine as possible.

Eddie Royal for a 2nd round pick or a player swap (defense):  What? Yes, Eddie Royal.  Another fan favorite may wind up waving goodbye.  Josh McDaniels loaded up on wide receivers and now the Broncos are chalk full of talented wide receivers.  I can easily name ten teams who could use a talented receiver such as Eddie Royal.  Not only that, but a certain Mike Shanahan comes to mind.  Every team in the NFL will tell you that trading a second rounder for Eddie Royal is most definitely worth the value.  If you were Washington, would you not agree that trading that second rounder for Eddie would be a lot more attractive than using the second rounder on an unproven wide receiver.  Some people would probably disagree with me and says he’s not worth more than a third rounder, but I stand firm in my logic.  Our other option would be to swap him for some sort of defensive player.  Either way, if we trade Royal, we better get defense in return.

Kyle Orton for a second rounder:  This one is a no brainer.  The team has announced that this is what they are asking for and once again I can name ten teams that are ready to part ways with a second rounder for a proven quarterback.  Kyle Orton may very well be the only player that gets traded before the draft.  I don’t think it matters who the Broncos hire – Kyle is getting traded.  The Broncos need help on the offensive line and an additional second rounder may be just what the doctor ordered to help beef up this line.  The ironic thing, assuming we get an offensive linemen for Orton, is that this linemen will be protecting Tebow.  

Tim Tebow for… Cam Newton:  I am not saying that we will try or would even try to make a one-for-one trade for Cam Newton.  That just isn’t and never will happen (someone has to draft him first of course).  What I am saying is this: If the Broncos were to trade Tim Tebow for whatever it is they got, they would then move to ensure that Cam Newton was in Blue and Orange by the end of April.  I don’t personally endorse this at all, but I will trust coaches to know more about players’ talents than I do seeing as how I don’t have an army of scouts working for me.  But the main reason why I bring this up is because of all the hoopla John Elway has been saying regarding QB Tim Tebow.  Not even a week in office and VP Elway is bringing us flashes of the McDaniels/Cutler debacle.

D.J. Williams for a third and fourth/fifth round pick:  This may actually be a high price for LB D.J. Williams.  Teams just don’t value him as much as the Broncos do.  Let me explain what I mean.  I own a Civic and my civic is worth more to me then it would be if I were to try to sell it.  To me, because of its uses, my car is worth 10k, but I’d be lucky to get 5k if I tried to sell it.  D.J. Williams is definitely worth more than a second rounder to the Broncos, but I just don’t think you could get that for him.  In all honesty, it may not even be worth trying to trade him.  He is the defense.  Yes, he’s made some off-field mistakes, yes he is questionable in pass coverage, but he is the defense regardless of whatever questions you may have.

Brian Dawkins for ?:  Many fans love Brian Dawkins.  He is a talented player and a very outspoken leader of the defense.  But unfortunately, he lost the 49ers game.  On top of that, he’s slow.  I don’t think you could get much for Mr. Dawkins, but if we are rebuilding the team, then he has to go.  Get what you can for him.  The same thing is being said of Champ Bailey.  You might as well get what you can while you can get it.  The only value I see in keeping Dawkins is to train up the younger players.  But, besides that, he may end up going the way of John Lynch.

Laurence Maroney for whatever we can get:  If there’s a team out there dumb enough to trade for Laurence Maroney, then we need to immediately jump on that and get what we can.  What in the world McDaniels was thinking when he traded for him is beyond me.

Now let’s assume the Broncos made these trades.  Assuming the Broncos keep a QB, here’s what I believe the Broncos desperately need in order of importance.

1. Defensive nose tackle – The nose tackle is the core of 3-4 defense and Jamal Williams was hardly effective.  But if he was the starter, that tells me that Ronald Fields isn’t very effective either.  This is of course assuming the Broncos maintain the 3-4 scheme.

2. A game changing linebacker.  The current core of linebackers is slow and poor at tackling.  When Elvis Dumervil was injured, the linebackers were exposed to be a core of moderate backups and not every down linebackers.  They need depth and they need it now.

3. Cornerback - This has got to be the most depressing fact.  We’ve spent the past two drafts picking cornerbacks and we are still in desperate need of a solid cornerback.  However, there is hope.  Perrish Cox is talented but may not be around. Syd’Quan Thompson is also a young and promising talent, but he isn’t talented enough to replace Champ.  But just recently, Nnamdi Asomugha has become a free agent so if the Broncos could land him, this would be immediately taken care of and would cross off cornerback from draft needs.

4. Offensive Guard/Tackle – The Broncos spent too long trying to figure out their offensive line.  Everyone kept saying that when Ryan Harris returned everything would be put right and the Broncos would be able to run the ball.  Well, they did…sort of.  The running game was messy all season and a big part of that is the lack of holes to run through.  Zane Beadles and J.D. Walton struggled all season.  The even more depressing fact was that the guys behind them weren’t much better.  The O-line needs depth.  Maybe even a new starter.

5. Tight End – I may even be willing to put this on top of cornerback at No. 3 in importance.  But solid tight ends can be found in free agency.  Daniel Graham dropped plenty of footballs and is getting old and tired.  To top that off, his hopefully future replacement in Richard Quinn stinks.  He can’t block and he can’t really catch either.  Thanks McDaniels.

Anyways, we are full of receivers and have so many needs, so I say trade Eddie Royal.  Kyle Orton has made it clear that he won’t play unless he’s starting  so he needs to be traded.  Champ doesn’t want to rebuild, so I say it’s time to move on.  That’s at least three additional picks, even possible high round picks.  Looks like it’s in the Broncos’ best interests to make some needed trades and say goodbye to some local favorites.  We’ve already said goodbye to the other half of Shanahan’s worthy keepers.

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Tags: Brian Dawkins Cam Newton Champ Bailey D.j. Williams Daniel Graham Denver Broncos Eddie Royal Elvis Dumervil J.d. Walton Jamal Williams John Elway John Lynch Josh Mcdaniels Kyle Orton Laurence Maroney Mike Shanahan Nnamdi Asomugha Perrish Cox Richard Quinn Ronald Fields Syd'quan Thompson Tim Tebow Zane Beadles

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