Broncos Host QB J.J. McCarthy; Sean Payton Open To Trading Up

Jarrett Stidham is currently in place to serve as the Broncos’ 2024 starting quarterback, but the team is one of many worth monitoring with respect to a move up the board. When speaking at the annual league meetings, head coach Sean Payton confirmed Denver is open to trading up from the No. 12 spot.

“It’s realistic,” Payton said of a trade-up move on the part of the Broncos (via Parker Gabriel of the Denver Post). “What’s hard to predict, though, is what’s on the receiving end. It’s good to be [general manager] Monti Ossenfort today at Arizona. It’s hard to predict what that cost is and yet I certainly wouldn’t say it’s unrealistic. We’ll pay close attention to it.”

Ossenfort made it clear last week the Cardinals are open to trading out of the fourth slot; Chargers GM Joe Hortiz has likewise said the No. 5 pick could also be available for the right price. The Broncos will therefore have potential trade partners if they are willing to pay a steep price to move into range for one of the top passers in this year’s class. With only one other pick inside the top 120, however, Denver does not have as much capital available as teams like the Vikings (who now own two first-rounders).

Payton (who was not in attendance for Michigan’s Pro Day) also said on Monday the Broncos hosted quarterback J.J. McCarthy for a private workout one day later. That allowed Denver’s decision-makers to get a close look at the 2023 national champion, who has of course received interest from other teams recently (and has previously been on Denver’s radar). McCarthy has long been seen as a member of the second tier of QB prospects (behind Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye), but he has increasingly been linked to a top-10 selection, likely by a team moving up the board to draft him.

Set to carry $85MM in dead cap charges owing to the Russell Wilson release, the Broncos need a cost-effective quarterback depth chart in the near future. Stidham is on the books for one year at a $7MM cap figure, but a long-term investment at the position would come as no surprise. Considering Payton’s remarks, Denver will remain one of the more intriguing teams to watch over the coming weeks as more clarity emerges on the price of the fourth and fifth selections and the market which develops amongst teams prepared to move up the order.

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