In the last year, Denver Broncos general manager George Paton has made some incredibly bold trades, to say the least. Just one year ago (it feels much longer), Paton traded superstar pass rusher Von Miller to the Los Angeles Rams for a couple of draft picks in 2022. A few months after that, he made a blockbuster trade to acquire quarterback Russell Wilson. Now, heading into the bye week, he’s traded away former fifth-overall pick Bradley Chubb to the Miami Dolphins.
Paton has been one of the NFL’s most active general managers when it comes to making trades, and he’s certainly done a lot to reshape the roster the way he wants it to be. Since the trades involving Miller and Chubb, both players have signed massive contracts.
- Von Miller signed for 6 years, $120 million ($51.435 guaranteed) with the Bills
- Bradley Chubb signed for five years, $119 million ($63.2 guaranteed) with Dolphins
The pockets are deep out in the AFC East, aren’t they? But where does all of this leave the Denver Broncos? In exchange for Miller and Chubb, the Broncos have certainly saved a nice chunk of cash…or did they?
The total money paid to Miller and Chubb on their new contracts is not much less than what the Broncos paid Russell Wilson on his massive extension ($239 million vs. $245 million), although Russell got a bit more in guaranteed money than those two combined ($161 million vs. $114 million)
Even without Bradley Chubb in the fold, even without Von Miller in the fold, the Denver Broncos still have an outstanding stable of pass rushers. This team’s goal under defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero is to bring pass rush in waves, and there’s no reason to think even after three trades:
- Von Miller
- Bradley Chubb
- Malik Reed (who forgot about that one?)
There’s no reason to think the Broncos won’t be able to send waves of pass rushers at teams this year and moving forward into the future.
Denver Broncos pass rush unit still loaded after Bradley Chubb deal
Despite losing players like Miller, Chubb, and Reed — the team’s primary starters over the last four years off the edge — the Broncos are still well-equipped to cause havoc for teams in the pass rush department. Looking at what players the team still has under contract for 2023 (and many beyond), I think you will agree.
- Randy Gregory
- Baron Browning
- Nik Bonitto
- Jonathon Cooper
- Jacob Martin
- Aaron Patrick
- Christopher Allen
When you look ahead at the 2023 offseason and battle off the edge, you can already tell that the Broncos are going to have some really tough decisions to make, provided everyone is healthy. As we have seen this season on a variety of occasions and examples, injuries have not slowed this pass rush unit down one bit on Evero’s watch. And even without Aaron Patrick (ACL injury) and Allen (IR) this season, the Broncos go five deep off the edge for the remainder of 2022 with players like Jonathan Kongbo and newcomer Zach McCloud on the practice squad.
Waves. Waves and waves of pass rush. And these guys are winning their pass rush reps at a very high rate. That includes newcomer Jacob Martin as well. Coming out of the bye week, we may not see Randy Gregory but we will see a combination of Browning, Bonitto, Cooper, and Martin out there for the Broncos causing havoc off the edge.
Of course, rushing the passer is also just half the job for these guys, who also have to be stout at the point of attack. That will be the biggest question mark after losing Chubb, who was the “biggest” player at this particular position group before the trade. At the listed height/weight of 6-foot-4, 257 pounds, Jonathon Cooper may now be the densest edge player the Broncos have. Everyone else hovers around 240 pounds.
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The Broncos’ edge group may be light, but they pack a punch. They have outstanding play strength and they are no slouches when it comes to setting the edge. The key will be doing it on a consistent basis and forcing teams to throw, which plays right into this unit’s strength. Even without Von Miller, even without Bradley Chubb.