Denver still views keeping Sutton as a priority, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. Despite not being with the Broncos when the team drafted Sutton in the 2018 second round, George Paton identified him as a cornerstone player. Sutton has returned to action this season, after an ACL tear wiped out most of his 2020 campaign. He is scheduled to be a free agent in March.
The Broncos have the franchise tag to use on Sutton if they choose, though that price could surpass $17MM in 2022. Leading the team with 43 catches for 617 yards, the 6-foot-4 target looms as the team’s top 2022 UFA. Sutton reeled off a 1,000-yard season in 2019, doing so as the Broncos used three below-average quarterbacks in starting roles at various points, and is on pace for another.
Should the SMU alum avoid more injury trouble, he will be on track for big money in free agency — if the Broncos let him hit the market. It does not sound like they intend to do so. Denver has invested considerably at the receiver position over the past two years, becoming the first team since 2003 to select wideouts in Rounds 1 and 2 and then extending Patrick today. Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler are tied to rookie deals through the 2023 season, with Jeudy controllable through 2024 because of the fifth-year option.
While the Broncos’ quarterback salary future is again uncertain, the team is in good shape with the cap. Much can change between now and free agency, but the Broncos reside in the top five for projected 2022 cap space, per OverTheCap. Having Sutton in the fold would also be attractive for QBs, and a few high-end arms — Aaron Rodgers, whom the Broncos pursued this year, and Russell Wilson among them — figure to be in trade rumors again in 2022.
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