The Denver Broncos are a total disaster this year, but a few players have stood out in 2023 and have earned new contracts for 2024 and beyond. There's really not much to like about the 2023 Denver Broncos through five weeks. The team is 1-4 and are likely going to enter the bye week at 1-7.
I don't think there is much chance that Denver can win their next three games, two of which come against the Kansas City Chiefs. They'll also face the Green Bay Packers in Week 7. In an alternate universe, Denver sits at 3-4 entering Week 8 versus the Chiefs and give us false hope as usual.
Anyway, there have been a handful of players who have earned, to a degree, a new contract from the Denver Broncos in 2024 and beyond. Let's cover those players.
3 Denver Broncos who have already earned new contracts
1. Quinn Meinerz, RG
Quinn Meinerz is very good at football, and I think the Denver Broncos would be wise to pay him at some point. He's earned a new contract this coming offseason, which is the first year he is eligible for it. A third-round pick in 2021, Meinerz has quickly turned into the best OL on the Denver Broncos' roster.
He hardly gets penalized and is a beast in pass protection and as a run blocker. According to Pro Football Reference, in 33 career games, Meinerz has been called for just five penalties. He's also played 100 percent of the offensive snaps this year. I get that the Broncos already have big contracts at left tackle, left guard, and right tackle, but they should still find a way to pay Meinerz.
2. Patrick Surtain II, CB
This one is pretty obvious. Patrick Surtain II was the team's first-round pick back in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he's already become the best CB in football. Surtain has locked up every top WR he's faced in 2023, and he's only getting better. The best part is Surtain is still just 23 years old. Through five games, Surtain has one pick, five passes defended, and 18 total tackles. Teams just simply do not throw his way, so we may see Surtain not necessarily light up the stat sheet each year.
3. Jonathon Cooper, EDGE
I truly struggled to find another player who was deserving of a new contract. Jonathon Cooper was another 2021 draft pick, which has been George Paton's best draft, by far. Cooper has moved into a full-time starting role this year, and he's looked like a solid starter. Through five games, Cooper has one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, three sacks, 27 total tackles, and two tackles for loss.
If we take his production through five games over a 17-game season, we'd get this:
3 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 10 sacks, 92 total tackles, 7 tackles for loss. It'll all end up being in a lost season. My main issue I have with Cooper and Nik Bonitto is that they have shown some progress this year, but I do wonder how high their ceilings are. They're playing like quality starters, but I think the EDGE position is where teams need to have truly elite players.
I would not be opposed to the Broncos spending some money for a quality EDGE next offseason if one becomes available. Anyway, Cooper has probably played his way into a new contract if he can keep this up all season.