DROP THE MIKE

At deadline, the Broncos wave the white flag on the 2022 season

Nov 2, 2022, 6:30 AM

The Broncos have confirmed what we all knew for weeks. They’re waving the white flag on this season. It’s all about 2023 and beyond.

The Bradley Chubb trade signaled to the Broncos’ locker room that management has no belief there’s a magical second-half run in store for this team. It showed that the front office doesn’t believe Denver is a playoff team in 2022.

The reaction on social media from Chubb’s defensive teammates revealed that he is a guy revered in that room and on that side of the ball. For a group that is already justly annoyed for having to carry this awful offense, removing Chubb from the equation makes these guys independent contractors who will be looking out for themselves. They know management has already turned the page on this season.

For the record, I don’t agree with the trade. Newsflash: The Broncos don’t have enough talented players. I’m not a big believer in trading good players. Especially for draft picks. I know I’m supposed to bow to the altar that is the NFL Draft. It’s fun, but I also call it for what it is. It’s a massive crapshoot. I’ll take a proven commodity over the unknown.

I know the anti-Chubb sentiment runs strong because he hasn’t played like the No. 5 overall pick. I get that. He’ll never be a generational player, but he can be a good player. And, again, the Broncos need more good players.

I get he’s not Josh Allen. That was a miss. But, let’s also not rewrite history. The Broncos’ fans and media who were not happy with the Chubb pick would’ve been ecstatic if they chose Josh Rosen instead. Or, traded up for Sam Darnold. Again, I was there when it all went down. On draft night, the reaction to the Chubb pick was overwhelmingly positive. And why not? The Broncos were adding a guy who would fit right into the Von Miller/Demarcus Ware model that was such a huge part of the Broncos’ Super Bowl win just a few years prior.

Let’s see, what are the other arguments for trading Chubb? Oh yeah, why would you want to pay a guy with that kind of injury history? The Broncos currently have the second-most available cap space in the NFL. Looking forward to 2023, they are currently just outside the top 10 in cap space. There’s no one they’ll be spending big money on offense. Russell Wilson still has another year on his team-friendly deal. Plus, all NFL deals now are basically two- to three-year deals that won’t hamstring a team long term like a Kris Bryant or Michael Porter, Jr. contract. So why would you be freaking out on a Bradley Chubb contract?

The irony of the apprehension of paying Chubb is that the same folks who are preaching fiscal responsibility will be looking to lavish monster deals on other teams’ free agents who come with the same or more red flags than Chubb has. Unbelievable.

What’s the other one I’ve heard? Hmmm. Oh yeah, gotta be able to pay Dre’Mont Jones. Yeah. Let’s do it. Let’s pay the defensive stars. In case you haven’t noticed, the Broncos’ offense stinks and there’s absolutely no guarantee it’s going to become an offense that can go head to head with Patrick Mahomes. So in the meantime, build the toughest defense you can buy. Pay Chubb. Pay Dre’mont. Let’s Ride!

One more. With Baron Browning and Nik Bonitto, the Broncos supposedly have easy replacements for Chubb. Well, seeing as how injuries to current Broncos like Randy Gregory and misguided evaluations of Shaq Barrett and reckless trades of Malik Reed have left the Broncos thin at pass rushers, I subscribe to the idea you can never have enough.

And while I’m hopeful like everyone else Browning and Bonitto turn out to be studs, let’s point out Browning has 2.5 sacks in 21 NFL games and Bonitto has 1.5 sacks in six games. Maybe when one of them has a season where they put up 12.0 sacks in a full season we can be excited. You know, like the season Bradley Chubb put up as a rookie.

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