The Denver Broncos are on the cusp of a complete fire sale as an organization. When it comes to this Denver Broncos roster, the team is failing to live up to any sort of hopeful expectations, and they have lacked adequate NFL Draft capital to replenish the team due to the Russell Wilson and Sean Payton trades.
Now, we're just three games into the 2023 season, but I don't think there's anything wrong with being a bit doom and gloom after the team gave up a whopping 70 points in the most embarrassing game I've ever had to sit through. The unfortunate reality right now is that the Broncos are not good until proven otherwise, which means we have to discuss realistic topics of a team that is not good, including trading star players.
I've had a lot of people come at me saying that there's no way the Broncos can trade Patrick Surtain, because he's a star player on a rookie contract. That is precisely the reason they can trade him, actually, and why Surtain may have more value to the Broncos as a trade piece than on the field.
Think, for the moment, about the fact that in two seasons and some change, the Broncos have won a combined 12 games with Surtain on the roster. Is he the reason for that? No. Has he been a bright spot? Absolutely. But a team like the Broncos right now without even a competent pass rush is not exactly the ideal spot for PS2 and his skill set. Not to mention, the play of Damarri Mathis on the other side of the field is rendering Surtain's stardom effectively useless. Then you had this from Surtain's father during the Miami debacle...
I'm not trying to sit here and say I want the Broncos to trade Surtain, and especially not that I want them to be in a situation to trade him, but if the Broncos are going to effectively rebuild and reload this roster, the value Surtain could bring back in a trade will never be higher, and the Broncos could recoup multiple first-round picks for him, in all likelihood.
And right now, one team seems to stand out among the rest as an obvious fit: The Miami Dolphins.
Surtain obviously has history with the Miami Dolphins as his father was drafted by them and played for them. The Dolphins' defensive backs coach -- Sam Madison -- is another former Dolphins player who was a teammate of Pat Surtain Sr. once upon a time. It just so happens that Denver Broncos GM George Paton was there in the front office (director of pro personnel) in Miami as well when the Dolphins traded Pat Surtain Sr. to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2005.
Even if those local connections mean nothing (Surtain is also a native of the area who played his high school ball there), there are some other obvious connections right now between the Dolphins and Broncos that would make this trade make sense. The primary one being -- Vic Fangio. Fangio was obviously in the room back in 2021 when the Broncos selected Surtain, and all Fangio did about PS2 was gush over his abilities and talent. He loves him, and the Dolphins are obviously paying a lot of money to Fangio to be their defensive coordinator.
The injury to Jalen Ramsey has brought about some cornerback issues of late for the Dolphins, who have been rotating some guys to find the right combination out there. Xavien Howard is already 30 years old and probably isn't the long-term option for the Dolphins on the opposite side of the field of Ramsey.
But Pat Surtain II could very well be.
The Dolphins and Broncos have already come together on a blockbuster deal as well. The line of communication is wide open between Broncos GM George Paton and Dolphins GM Chris Grier, and we already know there is history between Sean Payton and the Dolphins' front office. But we won't speak of that any further. The bottom line is, Paton and Grier came together on the deal sending Bradley Chubb to Miami last year, and the Dolphins have been one of the NFL's most aggressive teams in recent years.
They are taking a page out of the LA Rams' book circa 2016-2021 and they are willing to live without first-round picks if it means quality veterans coming back. And Pat Surtain II would give them a cost-controlled option at a premium position for the next two years and a long-term fixture at a crucial position. For a team like Miami that is clearly a championship contender, making an aggressive push for PS2 would make a lot of sense.
So how could the Broncos benefit here?
Well, the Broncos could very well land multiple first-round picks and then some for a player like Surtain. The Jaguars landed two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick for Ramsey back in 2020, and this was during Ramsey's fourth NFL season. Surtain is in his third NFL season and carries even more value.
I don't think it's out of the question to believe the Broncos could get multiple first-round picks and multiple additional picks, perhaps one of them on Day 2, in exchange for Surtain.
And ultimately, that is what the Broncos could be weighing in the near future. Do they hold onto Surtain and continue to expect the players on the roster to come through, or do they sell off their best player in exchange for potentially 2-4 future starters? Trading Surtain would be, in many ways, an admission of defeat. It would be a bitter and frankly embarrassing pill to swallow. But it might be necessary, and the Broncos would probably have a very willing participant in the Miami Dolphins.
The Dolphins do have their first-round and second-round picks in 2024. They have all of their picks in 2025. But those first-round picks from Miami might help the Broncos more than the Dolphins beyond this season.