MILE HIGH MONDAY

Wilson and Jeudy find new homes, as Broncos rebuild unfolds

Mar 11, 2024, 7:02 AM

The NFL news cycle hardly ever stops. The new league year begins this week, but that didn’t stop a flurry of activity for many teams – including the Denver Broncos – over the weekend.

I like seeing what happens next in the NFL. The offseason is full of competition, and the work done in the spring can help teams win games in the fall.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep Wrangler TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

***

Steelers Country, Let’s Steel?

On Sunday, it was reported that former Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson was signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers. I reported last week that the Steelers were interested, but that Wilson was seeking more than the one- or two-year deal they were likely to offer. Wilson sees himself as more than a “bridge” quarterback, but the Steelers didn’t want to commit that much time into the veteran.

That’s why the Steelers are getting Wilson on a one-year deal. He’ll likely serve as a guide for 2021 first-round pick Kenny Pickett, and the Steelers will see what Wilson has left in the tank. Their new offensive coordinator, Arthur Smith, should throw it back to the days in Seattle where Wilson operated in a run-heavy offense as a young player.

The Steelers should play strong defense, and they’ll run the heck out of the ball – like they always do. That seems like a much better fit for Wilson. I’ve said it many times on “Orange and Blue Today” and it’s worth repeating here; Wilson can still play, but he couldn’t play in Sean Payton’s offense.

I hope Wilson is more authentic with his new team. Steelers fans will not fall for the cheesy catchphrases and workout videos if Wilson is playing average (at best) football.

***

Jeudy Gets You Closer

On Saturday, the Broncos traded wide receiver Jerry Jeudy to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a couple of late-round picks. The Broncos may have been able to get a third-round pick for Jeudy before the trade deadline last fall (perhaps from the Browns), but now they accepted a 2024 fifth-round pick and a 2024 sixth-round pick for the former first-round pick.

I was shocked they could get that much for him. In fact, I thought if any receiver was traded it would’ve been Courtland Sutton coming off a 10-touchdown season with the Broncos. Instead of Sutton being shown the door, Jeudy is now going to play elsewhere in 2024. In addition to trading Jeudy, the Broncos also re-worked the contract for WR Tim Patrick (which makes sense for both sides).

Some may think Jeudy gets you players that make no impact, but that may not be the case. First off, general manager George Paton needs to be much better picking on day three of the NFL Draft than he has in year’s past. The talent is there on Day 3, but you must have someone in charge who can identify that late-round talent. Second, those picks may be used as part of a deal to move up in the draft. That could mean putting together a deal for a second-round pick, or it could be part of a haul to move up from the no.12 pick in the first round.

No matter what, Jeudy’s deal can get you closer. As the Broncos rebuild, we all need to stop complaining about something they should’ve done years ago.

***

No Jones, No Problem

The Broncos may have thought about adding New England Patriots QB Mac Jones via trade, but the Jacksonville Jaguars beat them to the punch. On Sunday, reports surfaced that the Jaguars were sending a 2024 sixth-round pick to the Patriots for Jones. This is a move that makes some in Broncos Country upset because Jones is a former first-round pick, and some fans think he got a raw deal in New England – especially after former OC Josh McDaniels left.

That may or may not be the case, but I doubt it. I didn’t grade Jones as a first-round pick when he came out of Alabama in 2021, but I did say he fit with only two teams if someone was going to take him in the first round. I believed he fit in with the Patriots and with the New Orleans Saints (with Payton as head coach).

I still believe that could be the case, and a sixth-round pick isn’t much to give up for someone who is an upgrade over Jarrett Stidham. However, Jones is a dirty player, and I don’t think that’s what the Broncos want to be about during a rebuild. The fans in Denver need something to get excited about, and Jones doesn’t move the needle in that way. Sure, they could’ve sent the Patriots a late-round pick, but I think rolling with a different veteran quarterback is a better idea.

I’m not a fan of Jones, even with Payton rebuilding him in his offense. He might be a good backup to Lawrence, but I don’t think the Broncos missed out on some sort of reclamation project who could turn into an above average starter.

***

Future Western

I’m a fan of old Western films. John Wayne movies (True Grit, The Cowboys) are what I grew up on in the country, and I love modern Western movies too. No Country for Old Men is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I spent part of my weekend watching clips from Tombstone on YouTube. If done correctly, there’s nothing like an Old West gunslinger story.

So, as a writer, I wanted to take a shot at the genre – but with a twist. That’s why I created the “GunDisciplined” universe for my independent comic book company; Smokin Gun Comics. I put the story in the future, after a nuclear war, where most of society has been moved into dome cities. Outside the domes, the Unchosen wander what’s left of the United States with Old West tech. While they are hunted by government robots and drones, the GunDisciplined also must deal with rival gangs and zombies from the fallout.

That’s why it was a thrill when my friend, Marvel artist Jay Leisten, felt inspired by the lead character Ghost Gun and drew a picture of her. During the hectic Scouting Combine a week ago, I was able to hang out with Jay for a little bit and he proudly handed me the illustration. As a small business owner, it’s always great to get encouragement from those who are big names in the business you want to thrive in. Not only has Leisten worked on titles like “Death of Wolverine” but he also started drawing professionally back in the 90s (when I wanted to get started) and works with other top names in the comic book industry. He really likes the idea of GunDisciplined, and that alone is a thrill. Having an original illustration done by Leisten of one of my characters is a thrill beyond belief.

What is your favorite Western movie? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

Mile High Monday

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