One of the more disappointing teams in recent memory, the Broncos have now lost four in a row. Despite hiring an offensive-minded head coach (Nathaniel Hackett), Denver’s offense ranks last in scoring (14.3 points per game). As a result of this offense-geared losing skid, vultures are circling.
Jerry Jeudy‘s name continues to come up in trade rumors, and Troy Renck of Denver7 adds (via Twitter) teams are interested in Bradley Chubb as well. While Jeudy can be controlled through 2024 via the fifth-year option, Chubb is playing on his fifth-year option ($12.7MM). His contract expires in March. Considering where the Broncos’ season has headed, it is certainly unsurprising to see teams show interest in a contract-year pass rusher.
Denver stockpiled an edge-rushing surplus this offseason, but that has deteriorated over the past few weeks. The depth led the Broncos to trade Malik Reed to the Steelers before setting their 53-man roster, but injuries have hit this position group hard. Randy Gregory remains on IR due to arthroscopic knee surgery, and the Broncos placed backup Aaron Patrick on IR recently. He is out for the season. Baron Browning, who has thrived after moving from inside to outside linebacker this offseason, left Sunday’s game with an injury. Browning is expected to miss several weeks because of the hip injury sustained, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.
With Gregory on IR and Browning perhaps headed there, the Broncos would seemingly have a tough time unloading Chubb. The former No. 5 overall pick has battled injuries during his career — one that saw minimal contributions in 2019 and 2021 due to knee and ankle trouble, respectively — but may be a candidate for the franchise tag come March. Chubb, 26, is enjoying a bounce-back contract year; he has a team-high 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles through seven games. Chubb’s re-emergence has helped the Broncos maintain a top-tier defense; the unit sits in the top three in points and yards allowed.
Gregory is under contract through 2026, at just $14MM per year, but the longtime Cowboy has now undergone three surgeries this year. His replacement, Browning, is under contract through 2024 and has shown bright flashes since being moved to the edge. The Broncos have rookie second-rounder Nik Bonitto and 2021 seventh-round pick Jonathan Cooper as its top backup edge defenders. The former stands to start in Browning’s place opposite Chubb in Week 8.
Given Gregory and Browning’s contract statuses and the price Chubb figures to command on his second deal, the Broncos entertaining offers would not surprise. They are 2-5 and have obtained value for high-profile pieces at recent trade deadlines. Denver dealt Super Bowl 50 cogs Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Von Miller from 2018-21. The Miller deal helped the Broncos trade for Russell Wilson, but that swap stripped the team of first- and second-round picks in 2023. A Chubb trade would be a way accumulate a Day 2 pick the team lost from the Wilson deal, but it also would mean bailing on a future with the North Carolina State product.
As for Jeudy, Renck notes the third-year wideout continues to generate interest (Twitter link). The Broncos are hesitant to trade the former first-rounder, whom Renck notes is close with Wilson. Denver is tied to Wilson through at least 2025, and Jeudy would seemingly profile as a building-block player around the high-priced quarterback next year compared to a trade asset. The Broncos have Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick under long-term contract, on deals ($15MM and $10MM per year, respectively) that look rather team-friendly given where the receiver market went in 2022. Jeudy becomes extension-eligible in 2023. This year’s trade deadline falls on Nov. 1, and the Broncos will now be one of the teams to watch.