Broncos, WR Courtland Sutton At Stalemate

Courtland Sutton reported for the Broncos’ minicamp Tuesday. This will allow him to avoid a $102K fine, separating this situation from the CeeDee Lamb, Brandon Aiyuk and Amari Cooper matters. But Sutton continues to pursue a contract adjustment.

Nothing is imminent for the Broncos’ top wide receiver, who said (via the Denver Gazette’s Chris Tomasson) his talks with the team — more than a month after this contract issue became known — are at a stalemate. Sutton’s four-year, $60MM contract runs through 2025. Only $2MM of the seventh-year veteran’s $13MM 2024 base salary is guaranteed; the rest of the money would become locked in shortly before Week 1.

The 6-foot-4 pass catcher, who underwent offseason ankle surgery, mostly watched during Denver’s first minicamp workout, per 9News’Mike Klis. Sutton, 28, said (via Tomasson) he gave brief consideration to skipping Denver’s minicamp but remains committed to the team, eyeing a hopeful ring of fame induction down the road. The Broncos drafted Sutton in the 2018 second round, and he has produced at points despite the the quarterback inconsistency that has come to define this franchise post-Peyton Manning.

It was definitely something that was considered,” Sutton said (via Klis) of the prospect of missing minicamp. “Obviously, I’m here. I wanted to make sure it was known, yeah, I was upset about how the contract went about, how the conversation went about. How the stalemate has persisted. But I also wanted it to be know that I love ball.”

Sutton is believed to be angling for a raise, and while the Broncos accommodated Chris Harris with a pay bump to resolve an issue back in 2019, the latter had proven far more than his former practice adversary has. Harris, who made the 2010s’ All-Decade team, was also going into the final year of his contract when the Broncos gave him a raise. Sutton, whose lone 1,000-yard season came that year, having two years remaining on his deal complicates matters. As does the fact Sean Payton was not in Denver when the team extended him during the 2021 season.

Denver has resisted trade interest for Sutton, though the team finally gave in on Jerry Jeudy and unloaded the former first-rounder for fifth- and sixth-round picks. Teams called about the Broncos’ 2023 leading receiver before the draft, but Sutton remains the team’s receiver centerpiece. Under Payton, however, the team has added a few pieces — from 2023 second-rounder Marvin Mims, 2024 fourth-rounder Troy Franklin and free agent Josh Reynolds. Sutton and Tim Patrick are the only John Elway-era cogs left in the Broncos’ skill-position group.

The Broncos set a second-round asking price on Sutton last year, and while that was never likely to be met, the team has the SMU alum on a fairly favorable deal considering where the wide receiver market has gone since this deal was finalized. Sutton’s $15MM AAV now sits 26th at the position. Jeudy signed a Browns extension that checked in north of Sutton for AAV and included far more guarantees at signing ($41.6MM).

Several wide receiver contract situations remain unresolved as the offseason enters its final weeks. Sutton’s may qualify as a second-tier matter, but the Broncos are likely aiming to have him help Bo Nix during the first-rounder’s rookie year. Training camp will represent the next stage of this impasse.

We are at a stalemate in a sense, but I have confidence and faith that the right thing will be done,” Sutton said, via Klis. “I hope that I am part of the bigger picture. I’ve been told that’s what the game plan is. I’ve also been told some other things. We’ll see what happens. I hope that I’m part of the game plan.

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