BRONCOS

George Paton makes it sound like Pat Surtain will stay with Broncos

Feb 27, 2024, 10:20 AM | Updated: 10:21 am

Many keep putting Denver Broncos star Pat Surtain II in mock trades—but the person making the actual trades in Colorado probably won’t be dealing PS2.

Surtain, 23, finished his third pro season by being named to a second Pro Bowl. Since being drafted by George Paton at No. 9 in the 2021 NFL Draft, the cornerback has quickly blossomed into one of the top defenders in the league.

Surtain had another very solid year for Denver, recording 12 passes defended, an interception and 69 total tackles. He also had notable performances against the likes of Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs and Amari Cooper, holding all of them to two catches or fewer in Weeks 1, 10 and 11 respectively.

Surtain’s success qualifies him among the highest class of eligible players for a fifth-year option, meaning a payday of $19.8 million for the 2025 season. That’s nearly what PS2 will have made up to that point of his NFL career. Still, Paton, the general manger of the team, said on Tuesday that it’s a no-brainer for the Broncos to pick up his fifth-year option. Denver will have to decide if they want to do that by May 2.

PS2 is slated to be worth $6.7 million against the cap in the 2024 season and then seems like they’ll pick up that option in 2025. Denver could eat some of their team control over the next two seasons and sign Surtain to a longer-term extension now or whenever they see fit.

“We’ll look into it, we have a lot going on before that,” Paton said on Tuesday about a possible extension of the corner. “We have free agency, the draft. Pat is gonna be here and obviously, we value him.”

And yet, PS2 is the team’s best trade chip and if the team is willing to move heaven and earth to get a much-needed quarterback, it may come down to dealing Surtain.

“We’re all big fans of Pat,” Paton, said at the end-of-season press conference about six weeks ago. “We’re going to have a big meeting in a couple of weeks, and kind of go through the entire roster for Pat included. But we want Pat here for a long time. I’m not prepared to make any statements on anything moving forward.”

Even if the Broncos truly thought about packaging Surtain with their No. 12 overall pick to move up for a quarterback, the prudent thing for Paton to say is seeing PS2 as part of the team’s future. But it does seem unlikely that Denver would move on from the All-Pro corner given seven teams tried to deal for him at the deadline and the Broncos balked. On top of that, Paton said on Tuesday that the Broncos are more likely to move down in the draft instead of seeking one of the top quarterbacks up high.

The most recent cornerback to get a big contract was Trevon Diggs, who got $97 million over five years from Dallas last offseason. Diggs was in a similar situation to Surtain, getting the deal before entering his fourth season, though because he was a second-round pick the Cowboys didn’t have the option to pick up a fifth year on his rookie contract. Packers standout corner Jaire Alexander is the highest-paid player at the position in the league, making $21 million a year. Green Bay skipped the former first-round pick’s fifth-year option and gave him $84 million over four seasons back in 2022.

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George Paton makes it sound like Pat Surtain will stay with Broncos