The Broncos are in the midst of a transition year. The team struggled out of the gate, losing two painfully close games, and then being embarrassed like never before in Miami in week three. However, since losing in Miami, the Broncos have won three of five, including a dominating win over the Chiefs in week eight. The Broncos and Sean Payton have shed some older, less productive talent who were on notable deals for younger players, getting their first chances as starters, who could be foundational pieces going forward.
Most important of all, Russell Wilson is producing at a high level, making his massive contract much easier for the Broncos to work with. The Broncos, regardless of if they make the playoffs or not, are trending upwards with tangible evidence for the first time in many years. That being said, the team is going to have some contractual heavy lifting to do, both in re-signing players and renegotiating existing contracts, ensuring that they can keep certain players in Denver on more cap friendly deals. Here are three players the Broncos need to make sure they retain this spring.
1) WR Courtland Sutton
Courtland Sutton is the Broncos' most obvious cap-casualty after the 2023 season. Sutton's contract is easy to move on from, with the potential for roughly $10 million for the cap. Sutton, however, is playing some of the best football of his career. Although Sutton is statistically on pace for a minimally higher receiving yardage total compared to last year, the SMU product is finally healthy, and has become one of the more prominent red zone threats in football. Sutton is up to six touchdowns on the year, tying his career high from 2019 in eight less games.
Most important for Sutton is that he is healthy and producing. Sutton, in a new offense, is hauling in over 70 percent of his targets, and all six of his touchdowns have come in the red zone. Sutton is also posting the lowest drop rate of his career, dropping just 2.2 percent of his targets - equaling just one drop through his eight games. Sutton struggled with just one drop in eight games. Sutton, above all else, has meshed well with Russell Wilson. With Wilson now likely to be back as the Broncos quarterback in 2024, Sutton's return makes a ton of sense. Somewhere the Broncos struggle in 2022 was their red zone offense, and has been a driving factor behind the Broncos correcting their 2022 woes. It would be smart for the Broncos to try and rework Sutton's deal, and keep the captain in Denver.