Broncos: Predictions for team’s restricted free agents in 2021

Denver Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay -- Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay -- Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos WR #81 Tim Patrick. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Broncos 2021 restricted free agent predictions

2. Tim Patrick, WR (2021 season age: 27-28)

Although they weren’t the first team to sign him out of Utah, the Denver Broncos have essentially overseen the development of Tim Patrick as an NFL wide receiver in full.

Patrick came to Denver a few years back as a member of the San Francisco 49ers when the two teams had intrasquad practices, and he made enough of an impression for the Broncos to bring him onto the practice squad in the fall of 2017.

Patrick cracked the active roster in 2018 and played all 16 games, making a few splash contributions here and there and some in really big moments.

In 2019, Patrick suffered an injury that caused him to miss half of the season, but again he made big plays in spurts for the offense.

In 2020, when Courtland Sutton went down with a season-ending knee injury, Patrick stepped up in a big way, leading the Broncos with six touchdown receptions and showing his best stuff yet.

Right now at the age of 27 going on 28 would be the perfect time for Patrick to cash in with a big contract but fortune favors the Broncos on the business end of this one. The Broncos have seen exactly the value Patrick brings to the offense. When Courtland Sutton went down, he was a very capable fill-in as the “X” receiver.

The Broncos can have that from Patrick again in 2021 for just over $3 million and if some team wants to throw a huge contract at Patrick, would the Broncos really turn down a second-round draft pick?

This is a win-win situation for all parties. The Broncos stand a pretty good chance (if not a guarantee) to have Patrick back by slapping him with a second-round tender. That would mean all seven of the team’s top receivers would be under contract and projected to return next season.

Depending on what he is looking for, the Broncos could try to extend Patrick and keep him as one of their top four receivers for the foreseeable future, but he’s probably going to want to have a chance to test the market at some point.

The biggest issue is, with Courtland Sutton coming back from injury in 2021, what will Patrick’s production be like? His value to the Broncos is tremendous, so don’t be shocked to see Denver at least try to get him on a longer-term contract.

Prediction: 2nd-round tender