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Sutton, Jeudy non-trade update

Sean Payton confirms earlier 9NEWS reports by telling NFL Network: "We're not trading those two players."

PHOENIX — The Arizona Biltmore resort here is a good place for catching up with NFL owners, general managers and head coaches every two years at the league meetings.

One of those top guys was kibitzing with a 9NEWS reporter in the lobby Sunday and when prodded admitted his team was interested in acquiring Denver Broncos receiver Courtland Sutton at one point this offseason season.

The Broncos though "were asking for a lot." A second-round draft pick to be exact. Which from the Broncos' point of view makes sense because Sutton was a second-round draft pick in 2018 and has had a decent career.

Where it didn't make sense to non-Broncos teams interested in Sutton is he is scheduled to make $14.5 million in 2023. So there has been no deal and probably won't be.

Same for Jerry Jeudy, another Broncos' receiver who generated interest but Denver wouldn't budge unless they got a first-round pick. Jeudy was a first-round draft pick in 2020 and came on big late in 2022, thus the Broncos asking price.

But no trade for either player materiaized and Broncos' head coach Sean Payton told the NFL Network here Sunday "we're not trading those two players." Payton was speaking to the NFL as part of the NFL Coaching Media Car Wash event.

Payton confirmed a 9NEWS report from March 16 that said: "While lots of teams have called on Broncos WRs (Jeudy, Sutton) including some who have been aggressive, it doesn’t appear Denver is interested in moving them per source. 

"Jeudy emerged at the end of the season, and there’s hope Sutton will return to 2019 form. There is optimism throughout football side both will thrive under one of game’s best play callers.''

That play caller refers to Sean Payton.

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (14) talks to Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (10) during warmups before an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023 in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

Remember, Jeudy was the No. 15 overall selection in the 2020 draft and it took him 2 ½ years before he put together a string of breakout games late last season to meet expectations. Even a first rounder likely needs a year or two to become a standout player so what's the point of swapping out a player coming on now for a player who may come on later? 

Jeudy returned from a two-game absence from a sprained ankle last season to finish with 37 catches, 523 yards and three touchdowns over the last six games. That projects out to 105 catches, 1,481 yards and 9 touchdowns over a 17-game season.

The key there is for Jeudy to play 17 games. Ankle injuries have limited him to an average of 12.5 games the past two years. Still, expect the Broncos to not only count on Jeudy to have a big year in 2023, but it would be a surprise if by the May 2 deadline they did not exercise the fully guaranteed, fifth-year option of $12.987 million for 2024.

Sutton had 72 catches for 1,112 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2019, but blew out his knee early in 2020. He has not met pre-surgery production since then although he has made steady improvement with 58 catches for 776 yards in 2021, then 64 receptions for 829 yards in 2022.

"We've received calls, you bet,'' Payton told the NFL Network. "Those are two good football players. But we're in the business of gathering talent right now. Why do people call? Because they know we're void of draft picks (none in the first and second rounds this year) and that we might, because there was some discussions a year ago, I think, regarding Courtland. But we like the current group that we're working with."

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (10) and Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (14) during an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


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