For the fourth offseason in a row, the Denver Broncos are expected to explore trade scenarios for their top two wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton but this year, they may actually be serious about moving one of the two. Broncos insider for 9News, Mike Klis, reported that the Broncos are expected to move on from either Jeudy or Sutton this offseason and develop rookie Marvin Mims Jr. into a starting role.
Denver's wide receiver room has simply not lived up to expectations for quite some time now meaning that general manager George Paton and head coach Sean Payton may entertain the possibility of reconstructing that position group. Considering Courtland Sutton established himself as one of the league's best red zone threats, there is a slight chance the Broncos could net a second-round draft pick in return for the sixth-year receiver.
However, a third-round selection is probably the more realistic return value at this point in his career. And judging from Sutton's recent activity on social media, he may be more likely to part ways than Jerry Jeudy.
While Jeudy struggled to produce a likable season from a statistical standpoint, there is still a bright future ahead for the fourth-year wideout. In 16 games in 2023, Jeudy caught 54 passes for 758 yards and a low two touchdowns. According to Next Gen Stats, among qualifying wide receivers with a minimum of 45 targets in 2023, Jeudy finished fourth in average cushion (7.2), eighth in average separation (3.6), ninth in yards after catch per reception (6.2), fifth in expected yards after catch per reception (5.3), and recorded just two drops.
As for Courtland Sutton, he finished 43rd in average cushion (6.4), 33rd in average separation (2.9), 16th worst in yards after catch per reception (3.1), 64th in expected yards after catch per reception (3.2), and recorded six drops with just three more targets than Jeudy all season. Sutton also finished the year with just 14 more receiving yards than Jeudy. The idea that Sutton is a far better receiver than Jeudy is completely false for countless reasons. With an increased target share and a quarterback who can complete his proper reads utilizing the intermediate part of the field, Jeudy could absolutely explode in production -- the stats and film back it up.
For the financial side of things, the Denver Broncos are essentially making a parallel move by moving off the contracts of Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Trading Jeudy would save the Broncos $12.98M in 2024 cap space by getting rid of his fully guaranteed salary. Trading Sutton would save Denver $13M in 2024 cap space by not having to pay his base salary but also help them down the road.
In 2025, Sutton turns 30 years old and will be owed a $13.5M base salary before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2026. Not to mention, Sutton's cap hits of roughly $17.3M in 2024 and $17.8M in 2025 are a bit more expensive than Jeudy's $12.98M in 2024. This could force Denver to feel more inclined to move off Sutton's contract due to the incoming cap ramifications of the expected Russell Wilson release.
However, this does not necessarily mean that Sutton has to be traded. George Paton is perfectly capable of adding two void years to Sutton's contract to push back his cap hits and effectively free up 2024 cap space. On the flip side, the Broncos' front office could feel hesitant to make this decision due to the reality that this scenario would tie themselves deeper into Sutton's contract. It would not be a shock if the Broncos look to shake up the receiver room in 2024 -- all signs currently point to Sutton being the first one out.