Broncos Exercise CB Patrick Surtain’s Fifth-Year Option

A formality given Patrick Surtain‘s accomplishments on his rookie contract, the Broncos are extending their top player’s deal through 2025. Denver officially is picking up Surtain’s fifth-year option,’s Adam Schefter tweets.

GM George Paton confirmed the team would go this route with Surtain in February, and as a multi-time Pro Bowler, the former top-10 pick is tied to the highest option price for a cornerback. That number checks in at $19.8MM, matching this year’s CB franchise tag tender.

The Broncos are the second team to officially exercise an option for a 2021 draftee; in extending DeVonta Smith, the Eagles picked up his option. Smith’s former teammate at Alabama, Surtain joins Micah Parsons and Ja’Marr Chase as 2021 draftees eligible for the top option price at their respective position. Players need to have made two original-ballot Pro Bowls on their rookie deal to become eligible for the franchise tag number.

Surtain, 24, has become one of the NFL’s best corners. With the Broncos cutting four-time second-team All-Pro Justin Simmons, there is little doubt Surtain enters the team’s offseason program as its top player. The second-generation NFL corner earned first-team All-Pro acclaim in 2022, helping keep Denver’s defense afloat during a miserable season on offense. Surtain did not quite reach that level in 2023, but the 6-foot-2 cover man earned a Pro Bowl nod.

This expected transaction does come amid a bit of uncertainty regarding Surtain’s Denver status. The Broncos have expressed obvious interest in extending the ascending defender, and the Denver Gazette’s Chris Tomasson adds extension talks are expected to ramp up after the draft.

While Paton drafted him back in 2021, Sean Payton was still in New Orleans at that point. Granted, the Saints were rumored to be interested in Surtain then. But the Broncos need a quarterback — their Zach Wilson trade notwithstanding — and Surtain may be the chip required to vault the team up the board in Round 1. Previously mentioned as hesitant to give up Surtain in a deal that would allow them to move up from No. 12 into QB territory, the Broncos seem a bit more open to the prospect as the draft nears.

It would certainly represent risk for the Broncos to bail on this type of asset so early in his career, and such a move would then create a glaring CB need. But the Broncos have, for the most part, carried a QB need for the past eight years. As mentioned in this week’s Trade Rumors Front Office installment, Payton may view Surtain as a necessary trade chip — in an AFC flooded with high-end passers — in a quest to climb into range for J.J. McCarthy or Drake Maye. Payton is believed to be high on the former, which is interesting given the buzz tying the Giants and Vikings to the latter this week.

The Broncos wanted two first-rounders to merely start a conversation about Surtain before last year’s deadline. Three teams made offers, though none were believed to be in that ballpark. As the draft nears, Surtain — used as one of the models for the Broncos’ new uniforms Monday — could be discussed further in deals. For now, he is on the Broncos’ books at $1.1MM in base salary this season. That certainly makes him an attractive trade piece, should this process rev into high gear leading up to the draft.

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