Former Sean Payton draft pick could be a Broncos draft day trade target

Could the Broncos trade for another veteran?
Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Bengals star defensive edge rusher Trey Hendrickson has requested a trade out of Cincinnati. Hendrickson, an Orlando, Florida native, is only 29 and has heavy ties to Broncos head coach Sean Payton.

Hendrickson was a third-round pick by Payton's Saints in the 2017 NFL draft and spent four seasons under Payton in New Orleans. The veteran pass rusher is under contract through the 2025 season and has shown no signs of slowing down in his NFL career. He has racked up 53 sacks in his last four seasons, including a career-high 17.5 in 2023. The former FAU Owl has made three straight Pro Bowls, and has been the Bengals' leading sacker in each of his three years there.

Hendrickson would immediately become the Broncos' best pass rush option and would solidify a major hole on the defensive line. The Broncos got meaningful contributions from pass rushers in 2024 such as Jonathon Cooper, Baron Browning, and Nik Bonitto, but none of them can realistically serve as the number one pass rush option on a playoff-contending team.

However, having those three as homegrown, numbers two through four on the depth chart with Hendrickson sliding in ahead of them would be an incredible boost for the Broncos in a department they have struggled in since the departure of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.

The most obvious move the Broncos could make would be to move a day-two or three selection for Hendrickson, depending on what the market for the veteran becomes. If the Broncos can move back from number 12 and acquire more assets, adding Hendrickson would make even more sense.

Hendrickson will immediately produce better than almost any player the Broncos could draft, and at 29, he has more than just next year left in the tank. This could be a home run move from Sean Payton and George Paton.