One of the NFL’s trade-rumor fixtures over the past two years, Jerry Jeudy may be in his final days with the Broncos. The 1-5 team is believed to be open for business on several players, and the 2020 first-round pick’s name continues to come up.
The Colts have been connected to Jeudy during this season’s first half, with ESPN.com’s Stephen Holder noting the Broncos called the AFC South team on the fourth-year wide receiver and other players earlier this season. The Colts expressed minimal interest, per Holder, and the longtime Indianapolis reporter doubts a deal will come to pass.
Conversely, 9News’ Mike Klis adds it was the Colts who contacted the Broncos on Jeudy and others. While it appears quite clear the two AFC teams spoke on possible trades, Indianapolis having shut down Anthony Richardson may make a move less likely for a team coming off a one-sided loss in Jacksonville.
The Colts have Michael Pittman Jr. in a contract year, and after paying Jonathan Taylor, the team’s plans with the former second-round pick are unclear. Pittman is prepared to depart in 2024, should the organization not view him as a core piece any longer. Indy also used a second-round pick on Alec Pierce last year and a third-rounder on slot target Josh Downs. Pierce has just 149 receiving yards through six games, while Downs (276) is faring better in Shane Steichen‘s offense. Jeudy has shown the ability to play both in the slot and outside in Denver, but the shifty route runner has not been an especially consistent weapon despite his profile.
Indy would make some sense as a Jeudy suitor, but this may not be the right time for the team to buy. But Richardson’s rookie contract would give the Colts flexibility on the talented but inconsistent wideout’s $12.99MM fifth-year option salary. Teams are believed to be hesitant on picking up that fully guaranteed sum, providing a potential impediment toward the Broncos moving Jeudy.
Compensation represents another roadblock. The Broncos are believed to have sought a second-round pick ahead of last year’s deadline but bumped up their price to a first during Sean Payton‘s first offseason in charge. With Jeudy’s 222 receiving yards third on this year’s Denver iteration, a first-rounder never seemed remotely possible. In fact, multiple teams informed ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that they would be reluctant to part with a Day 2 pick for Jeudy. However, others indicated a late third-rounder could be on the table due to the talent Jeudy has shown in spurts.
Eleven days away from the 2023 deadline, it looks like Jeudy is the more likely Broncos wideout to be dealt. Courtland Sutton has come up frequently in trade talks, though not as often as the younger Broncos receiver, but Fowler and Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano note Jeudy is more likely to be the receiver Denver moves.
The Broncos placed a second-round price on Sutton this offseason, but the 28-year-old target is attached to a $14MM base salary. Jeudy is tied to a $2.68MM base, though his 2024 salary does complicate matters. Sutton is signed through 2025, with nonguaranteed salaries of $13MM and $13.5MM in place past this year. The 6-foot-4 starter’s deal would seemingly be harder to move, but the Broncos’ George Paton-era willingness to eat the bulk of trade chips’ salaries to facilitate deals — as they did with Von Miller and Randy Gregory — could conceivably be a factor with Sutton or other trade pieces on veteran contracts.
The Broncos continue to be viewed as open for business on most of their players. Mentioned as unlikely to be moved earlier this month, Patrick Surtain remains a near-certainty to stay in Colorado past the deadline. Fowler adds NFL personnel laughed at the notion the All-Pro cornerback could be available. While Surtain (whose contract will run through 2025 once the Broncos exercise his fifth-year option) will almost definitely not be on the move, the Broncos will likely make others available. Names like Justin Simmons and Garett Bolles have circulated as options, though Jeudy remains the centerpiece item based on buzz from the 2022 deadline and this offseason.