With the Denver Broncos sitting at 5-5 heading into the bye, exasperation reigned among the fanbase.
Though the feel-good factor is back at Englewood with news that would warm even the coldest of hearts. Fan-favorite wideouts Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick both signed long-term extensions this week, universally lifting the spirits of Broncos Country.
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Teddy’s Not on Thin Ice Just Yet
Broncos’ General Manager George Paton was also thrilled to have tied up two of his team’s best performers through 10 weeks of football. It is a significant statement from Paton, who is now well and truly putting his own stamp on a franchise in transition. With Jerry Jeudy, Sutton and Patrick now locked in for the long haul, some have suggested Paton is setting the table for a top-tier quarterback to seat themselves at Mile High.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Seattle signal-caller Russell Wilson would undoubtedly propel the Broncos toward contention, though Paton shut down any suggestion of the deals implying they were preparing to jump into the quarterback market.
“No,” Paton told local media on November 22. “We’re just trying to get better as a football team and win games. These guys help us win football games. You can’t have enough weapons and now we have two really good ones. We have three with [WR Jerry] Jeudy, and then some younger guys with [WR Kendall] Hinton, so we like where [we are] at that position.”
With Jeudy currently in the second of his four-year rookie deal, alongside Sutton and Patrick’s four and three-year extensions respectively, the Broncos have one of the deepest and most talented receiving corps. Critically, their best is seemingly yet to come.
“What I really like about it is we have—they’re all a little different,” Paton said. “Courtland has speed, he’s big, and he’s physical. Tim can do a little bit of everything. He’ll do the dirty work, run after [the] catch, and he can also run. Then you have Jeudy who can really separate as a route runner. Master route runner, and then [KJ] Hamler can just take the top off, and you can see we miss that a little bit.
“We’re without Hamler, and [we were] without Jeudy, but I really like the receiving group. Even Kendall Hinton’s making big plays. He’s really come on, another testament to [Wide Receiver Coach] Zach Azzanni for developing these players. We’ve got some young guys we like who aren’t playing so we like the group as a whole.”
Paton: Broncos Have Huge Cap Flexibility
Despite their obvious talent at the skill position, the Broncos have struggled to explode on offense. Admittedly, they have feasted on some of the NFL’s more insipid outfits, yet the cornerstone of their offense has been winning the time of possession battle and utilizing dynamic running backs, Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams.
Paton explained just why he believes this offense has yet to set the world on fire through the air, despite the obvious outside weaponry.
“I mean, there’s a number of things,” he said. “You can look at the injuries we’ve had as a whole and again, I hate to talk about injuries because that’s not an excuse every team has them. We haven’t had all the guys together in many games. I think we lost [WR Jerry] Jeudy the first game, and [WR KJ] Hamler maybe the third game. Just keeping all our guys—we lost three linemen I think against Dallas, but that’s part of football. That’s part of the NFL. It’s not an excuse. When we’re clicking, we’re pretty good. We just haven’t clicked enough.”
Despite the big-money deals, Paton revealed the Broncos still have plenty of cap room to make the necessary moves to take Denver back toward its former glories.
“We have the resources to do whatever we want. Moving forward we’re going to have a lot of cap room and we’re going to have cash. We have 11 draft picks, so we have a lot of flexibility and I always talk about flexibility, but we do. We do have a lot of flexibility moving forward and we locked up two of our primary free agents.”
Patrick and Sutton will be cornerstones of the Paton era in Denver and if one thing is for sure, the gunslinging GM isn’t going to die wondering as he tries to build the Broncos back up.
Follow Patrick Djordjevic on Twitter: @Patdjordjevic