NFL Trade Deadline: Denver Broncos should be making calls
The Denver Broncos were one of the more aggressive teams in the NFL prior to last year’s trade deadline. Will they do the same in 2016?
The Denver Broncos tried and decided not to pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade for Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas prior to last year’s trade deadline. Will they be aggressive again this year?
It’s likely that John Elway is working the phones as I type this, and perhaps by the time you read it, a trade will have already consummated. The NFL trade deadline is usually the most over-hyped event in the league, but the Denver Broncos have plenty of reason to be active and try to find a way to upgrade their roster, even with a record of 6-2 through the first half of the season.
In particular, a couple of moves that would make sense would include the aforementioned Joe Thomas, who is unquestionably one of the best — perhaps the very best — offensive linemen in the league. The Broncos have struggled up front with consistency, penalties, and generally everything offensively.
The offensive line must be upgraded, and fans don’t want to have to wait for the crapshoot that is the NFL Draft or free agency. The Broncos can afford a move for Joe Thomas financially, so why not pull the trigger? You might argue that draft capital is more important at this time than getting Thomas in the fold when he has just two-and-a-half years left on his contract, but look at the track record of 2nd and 3rd round picks by John Elway.
As good as he’s been in the first round and the mid-late rounds, he’s been equally horrible in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.
The Broncos will have five selections in the top 100 this year thanks to Brock Osweiler and Malik Jackson getting massive contracts with their new teams, so Elway has plenty of capital with which to barter.
On the defensive side of the ball, it’s hard to believe the Broncos have any weaknesses but they do. With the departure of Malik Jackson and the injury to Vance Walker came the shock of very little depth up front for the first time in a long time.
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Adam Gotsis was drafted in the second round this past year, but he’s still incredibly raw. Jared Crick has done a fine job, but he was originally signed to play in rotation with Walker and with Walker on IR, the Broncos have a hole at the RDE position.
Enter Sheldon Richardson, who is still on a rookie contract with the New York Jets and a star player when not suspended or injured. The Broncos could look to take a risk/reward gamble on Richardson and the Jets would probably be willing to deal because of the emergence of former top 10 pick Leonard Williams.
Williams’ emergence and the massive contract of Muhammad Wilkerson sort of make Richardson the odd man out in New York, and the Jets could be looking to be sellers after a horrendous start to the season.
The Broncos have already made an underrated move to acquire tight end A.J. Derby from the New England Patriots, but he didn’t see the field in his first game as a Denver Bronco. The TE position certainly needed upgrading, and the Broncos gave up a 5th round pick to get Derby, so they clearly have some high hopes for him.
At any rate, this team needs some upgrades if they are going to contend in the AFC and the New England Patriots this year. They could look to continue winning the way they have been for the last season-and-a-half, or they could try and get something in the form of a star veteran player to help push them into ‘unbeatable’ status.
Both Richardson and Joe Thomas would provide huge upgrades for the Broncos at positions they desperately need help right now.