Recent rumors surrounding Denver Broncos suggest they could be heading toward rebuild

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos are entering this week’s Thursday Night Football game with one of the worst records in the NFL and could be on the verge of a total rebuild if things continue to get worse.

“Since we’re talking trade deadline, it feels pretty obvious from talking to teams around the league that the 1-4 Broncos are open for business,” wrote Dan Graziano of ESPN. “They fielded a lot of calls on their wide receivers in the offseason and stood pat, in part because injuries thinned them out at the position. But teams I talk to believe the Broncos will listen to offers for Jerry Jeudy or Courtland Sutton, as well as players on defense. They’re not interested in parting with star cornerback Pat Surtain II, as they see him as a building block, and nobody’s trading for [Russell] Wilson’s contract. But the Broncos in Sean Payton’s first season don’t look very good and could use some more picks to kick-start a rebuild. Expect to hear some prominent names in trade speculation out of Denver over the coming weeks.”

At 1-4, it doesn’t get any easier for the Broncos, who have to face the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium to kick off Week 6. With the NFL trade deadline approaching on Oct. 31, another loss could speed up the departures of several Denver players.

Payton arrived to the Broncos prior to this season and quickly called the coaching job they received under Nathaniel Hackett during the 2022 campaign one of the worst in NFL history.

Denver has followed that up with an even worse start to the season, which includes a 70-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins. The Broncos’ only win is against the 1-4 Chicago Bears in a game they trailed 28-14 heading into the fourth quarter.

They are coming off a 31-21 loss to the New York Jets which was sealed by Wilson’s fumble late in the fourth quarter that was returned for a defensive touchdown. After the play, television viewers could see Payton yelling at his veteran quarterback as he came off the field.

It was a clear sign that things are not well in Denver and showing no signs of getting better. That could lead to the trades of players like defensive lineman Frank Clark after a previous deal that sent pass rusher Randy Gregory to the San Francisco 49ers. Receivers Jeudy and Sutton could provide value to several teams around the NFL, including the Chiefs, who are without a true No. 1 wide receiver.

The 2024 NFL Draft is expected to include plenty of top-flight quarterback prospects, but the Broncos are tied to Wilson through a very lucrative contract extension that doesn’t even begin until next season. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler called the 34-year-old “essentially untradeable.”

It’s a mess in Denver by any measure, but the Broncos can turn it all around with an unexpected upset win on Thursday night. But if a more likely loss occurs, look for other NFL teams to try to grab some Broncos assets as they take another step to what seems like an inevitable teardown.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.