Proposed Trade Sends All-Pro LB to Broncos


Getty Denver Broncos GM George Paton speaks.

The Denver Broncos have a strong, well-rounded roster, but inside linebacker does stand out as a need.

Josey Jewell is locked in as a starter, but there is some uncertainty surrounding the other starting spot.

Free-agent acquisition Alex Singleton was very productive for the Philadelphia Eagles. In fact, he led the Eagles in combined tackles in both 2020 (120) and 2021 (137).

However, there are concerns about his ability in pass coverage. Last season, Singleton posted a PFF coverage grade of 39.3, which ranked 73rd out of 80 qualifying linebackers.

Jonas Griffith, Justin Strnad, and Kana’i Mauga all have potential, but the Broncos could look to add a more proven option.

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Proposed Trade Sends LB Eric Kendricks to Broncos

Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton suggested that the Broncos trade a second-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings for inside linebacker Eric Kendricks.

“The Denver Broncos struck gold with their trade for Russell Wilson,” Wharton wrote. “Continuing to go all-in during this window makes sense if the asset cost isn’t too prohibitive. One such veteran who might fit the bill is Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks.”

Last season, Kendricks set new career-highs in combined tackles (143) and sacks (5.0). Wharton cited Kenricks’s impressive statistical production.

“The 30-year-old has been as productive as any of his peers and is coming off maybe his best all-around season yet in which he accumulated 143 tackles, two interceptions, four pass deflections, and five sacks. Kendricks is still a star despite his age, but he makes more sense for a true Super Bowl contender than a fringe playoff hopeful.”

Wharton called Kendricks’s base salary of $9.15 million affordable. I would not go that far, as his base salary is the fifth-highest among inside linebackers in the NFL.

“With a base salary of $9.15 million in both 2022 and 2023, Kendricks is affordable compared to the rest of the linebacker market. The Vikings would save $9.4 million in a trade on top of receiving a solid draft pick. Losing his leadership and stability are part of the tough long-term decisions the new Vikings regime would need to weigh.”

A Kendricks Trade Seems Unlikely

Kendricks would immediately become the Broncos’ most versatile inside linebacker. He is adept at matching up with opposing tight ends and running backs. In 2020, he recorded a PFF coverage grade of 90.7.

PFF’s Sam Monson called Kendrick one of the league’s best coverage linebackers.

“Kendricks is one of the game’s best coverage linebackers, able to consistently squeeze throwing lanes and make plays on the ball once it’s in the air.”

Still, a second-round pick is a high price to pay. Inside linebacker is not exactly a premium position, and the Broncos do not have a lot of draft capital.

The Broncos do not own a first or second-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft, and they have a total of only five picks.

If they want to send a second-round pick to the Vikings for Kendricks, the Broncos would have to move their 2024 second-round pick.

It would be more appealing to trade a third-round pick for Kendricks, but at that price, the Vikings might not be willing to move him.

Furthermore, if the Vikings do put Kendricks on the trade block, a team can trump the Broncos’ offer simply by putting a 2023 second-round pick on the table.

Kendricks would be a nice addition to the Broncos’ defense, but a deal seems unlikely.

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