BRONCOS

Broncos should trade up in the NFL Draft, secure their franchise QB

Mar 26, 2024, 4:00 AM

The Denver Broncos need to make a bold move in next month’s NFL Draft, and that means pulling off a big trade.

Head coach Sean Payton met with the media on Monday morning at the league’s annual meeting, and he may have tipped his hand.

If so, he’s got the right idea.

Payton said he thinks it’s “realistic” the Broncos could move up the board in the draft, hopefully securing their franchise quarterback for the next 10-12 years.

“What’s hard to predict, though, is, like, what’s on the receiving end,” Payton said. “So, it’s hard to predict what that cost is, and yet I certainly wouldn’t say it’s unrealistic. And we’ll pay close attention to it.”

Right now, Denver has the No. 12 overall pick, but four QBs will likely be gone by that point. Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy would most certainly be off the board. However, it appears the Cardinals are open for business with the No. 4 pick. Payton might have his eye on them.

“You know, I think it’s good to be Monti (Ossenfort) today at Arizona, right?” Payton added.

Ossenfort is the Cardinals GM, and probably locked in with Kyler Murray at quarterback moving forward. That would mean he could demand a high-price for his pick, moving back in the draft and collecting assets. Whether that be future first-round picks or players remains to be seen, but the ball would be in Arizona’s court.

Regardless, Payton and the Broncos should pay the price. That’s just how the NFL works.

Out of the final eight QBs in the playoffs last year, seven were first-round picks. Heck, they’re all household names. You don’t reach the NFL quarterfinals without someone like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, C.J. Stroud, Jordan Love, Jared Goff or Baker Mayfield.

That doesn’t even include other studs like Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Aaron Rodgers, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Herbert and Matthew Stafford who all came up short last year for a variety of reasons.

The point is, especially in the AFC, you have to have a stud quarterback. And where do those come from? Overwhelmingly in Round 1 of the NFL Draft.

The Broncos can’t just stay at No. 12 and “settle” for Bo Nix or Michael Penix Jr. if they’re not enamored by either player. Denver needs to be proactive, making the trade up and getting the guy Payton thinks he can mold into a star.

Williams is probably unattainable, almost assuredly locked into the Bears at No. 1 overall. But a new report on Monday from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero says the Commanders may love McCarthy at No. 2.

That would certainly change things, considering many figured they’d take Daniels or Maye. But should one of the two of them be available at No. 4, the Broncos have to make a move.

Owner / CEO Greg Penner isn’t paying Payton a reported $18 million a year to roll out there in Week 1 with Jarrett Stidham. That simply wouldn’t make sense. No, Payton is a win-now coach, and the best shot at doing that is getting him a quarterback that can play.

The Texans went from worst to first in their division from 2022 to 2023. They changed coaches and added weapons, but the biggest addition by a mile was Stroud. If Houston can find overnight success, so can the Broncos with Maye or Daniels.

Yes, Denver gave up a combined three first-round picks to acquire Russell Wilson and Payton, but sometimes in life you just have to keep swinging. If it costs two more future Round 1 selections to move up eight spots, then so be it. It’s a disservice to Broncos Country to not find the next franchise QB.

The fanbase has suffered again and again since Peyton Manning retired, and deserves another winner at the most important position in sports.

And it seems Payton knows that too. Why else would he say it’s realistic to move up unless that was something he wants to do? Whether or not it happens is up to Payton and Penner, and they need to do everything possible to pull it off.

It’s time to go big and time to fix this mess once and for all. That means making a gutsy move up the draft board. Denver simply has no other choice.

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