ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — It seems like “huge” game or “must” win is stated every week with your local 11 football team. This week, though, it's not hyperbole to say the Broncos’ matchup Sunday against Washington at Empower Field at Mile High is the ultimate buyer or seller game.
Two days later is the NFL trading deadline.
Beat Washington and the Broncos are 4-4. Their four-game losing skid is snapped and the Broncos can feel good about themselves again. Chances are the return of receiver Jerry Jeudy will have helped in the victory. Split the following two games at Dallas and home against the Eagles and the Broncos would be 5-5 heading into their bye week with Bradley Chubb set to return from his ankle injury for the final seven games.
>>Video above: Broncos insider Mike Klis with the latest on Jeudy, Teddy and Von
It’s not that Broncos’ general manager George Paton is about to surrender a first, second or third-round draft pick for a Pro Bowl defensive lineman. But he might give up that extra 7th-round pick in the 2024 draft he just picked up in the Kenny Young trade for a starting inside linebacker.
Beat Washington and the Broncos are discount shopping buyers.
Lose to Washington, though, and the Broncos and Paton would have to consider selling off present assets for future value. The losing streak would be five if Washington prevails and up next for the Broncos is a road trip at Dallas and the offensive juggernaut Cowboys. And if the Broncos are sellers, shouldn’t they try to maximize their future return by putting their best player on the trading block?
To be clear, only if the Broncos lose to Washington should they consider trading away Von Miller in exchange for say, a second- or third-round draft pick. Pass rushers are premium commodities for Super Bowl contenders at the trade deadline. It would make sense for Paton to put out feelers on Miller because the 32-year-old outside linebacker is in the final year of his contract that pays him $19.03 million this year -- $10.07 million for the final nine games.
“While I’m here, while my key card still works, and while I’m a Denver Bronco I’m going to continue to keep trying to fix it,'' Miller said Thursday. "I’m going to continue to try to do my part to put us back on the mountaintop. I’m going to continue to try to be the type of franchise that this franchise has been historically. I’m going to continue to do that. I go to sleep trying to do it. I wake up trying to do it and I’m going to keep doing it until I’m not here anymore. I can’t really think about the future. Thinking about the future takes away from right now. It takes away from the present moment and the things that I have to do right now.
"I love being a Denver Bronco. I love being a part of this defense. All these guys on these teams, I’ve seen them come in as rookies and I see them now. Like a Justin Simmons or these new rookies that come in like Patrick Surtain that you’re super excited about it. You want to be a part of his career as he blossoms and does amazing things in his career. I came in with Bradley Chubb, and I want to continue to keep that brotherhood.''
It may be moot if Miller doesn't play Sunday because of his ankle injury. Teams don't like to trade for injured players. But if he does play against Washington, and the Broncos lose, consider this for Miller: It’s been six years since Miller won his Super Bowl 50 MVP without a chance to repeat. He'd never say so publicly but he deserves another opportunity to strip sack a quarterback with a higher playoff seeding at stake. The Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills are among the Super Bowl contenders who could use a pass rusher like Miller.
Broncos cornerback Bryce Callahan and receiver Tim Patrick are also players whose contracts expire after this season and could draw trade interest in the hours prior to the 2 p.m. MST Tuesday deadline.
Again, only if the Broncos lose to Washington. Sure the Broncos will try to move cornerback Kyle Fuller regardless of whether they win or lose to Washington. But unless the Broncos agree to eat a major portion of his remaining $5.03 million salary, Fuller would not be considered a highly tradable commodity.
Two other Broncos who become free agents next spring -- Courtland Sutton and Teddy Bridgewater -- won't be moved. Sutton is coming off a rookie contract and the way he's playing the Broncos will try to extend him. And Bridgewater, while solid as the NFL's 13th-rated passer, is not the type of quarterback who would put Super Bowl contenders over the top.
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