The Denver Broncos have assembled a talented group of edge rushers that includes Randy Gregory, Bradley Chubb, Nik Bonitto, Jonathon Cooper, Malik Reed, Baron Browning, Aaron Patrick, and Christopher Allen.
However, the Broncos are unlikely to carry eight edge rushers on their 53-man roster. Last season, only five edge rushers made the initial 53-man roster. So, the Broncos could look to make a trade.
Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski believes the Broncos should trade edge rusher Malik Reed.
“The Broncos are five-deep at the position before even mentioning Malik Reed, who led the team’s OLB group last season with five sacks,” Sobleski wrote. “A potential hang-up exists with Reed’s contract status since he’s not signed beyond 2022. Considering the depth the team has and the likelihood of Reed leaving after this year, he could be flipped to another squad for a future draft asset.”
Sobleski cited the Broncos’ depth at edge rusher.
“A team can almost never have too many pass-rushers, but the numbers game eventually comes into play,” Sobleski wrote. “The Denver Broncos are deep at outside linebacker. Bradley Chubb should be back and operating at full tilt after suffering an ankle injury last season that cost him 10 games. Denver signed Randy Gregory to a five-year, $70 million free-agent contract this offseason. The team then selected Nik Bonitto with its top pick (64th overall) in this year’s draft. Jonathon Cooper started five games as a rookie last season. Baron Browning, meanwhile, will convert from off-ball linebacker to full-time edge defender.”
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Broncos: Reed Continues to Be Mentioned as a Trade Candidate
Reed has been a popular trade candidate among NFL analysts. ESPN’s Jeff Legwold recently predicted that Reed would not make the roster.
Legwold projected Patrick would make the roster over Reed.
“If Gregory is full go in camp, the Broncos could lean to Patrick’s special teams work or some additional depth at inside linebacker over Malik Reed’s experience,” Legwold wrote.
In addition, The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider recently mentioned Reed as a potential trade candidate.
“Where does that leave Malik Reed? Is the fourth-year player still viewed as a top rotation piece? Could the Broncos fetch a fifth-round pick for a player who has tallied a combined 13 sacks the past two seasons? It’s not out of the realm of possibility, particularly if young players such as Jonathon Cooper, Christopher Allen and Aaron Patrick show significant progress during camp.”
Should the Broncos Trade Reed?
Many analysts believe the Broncos should trade Reed but is that the right move?
Gregory, Chubb, and Bonitto should be locks to make the roster. Cooper and Browning flashed upside as rookies last season, so they likely will make the roster, as well.
Still, why not carry Reed as a sixth edge rusher?
Since 2020, Reed leads the Broncos in sacks (13), and he is still only 25 years old.
Edge rusher is a premium position, and if the Broncos are offered a fifth-round pick as Kosmider suggested, that is not great value.
Reed may not play a large role this season, but he is simply too valuable to trade for a Day 3 pick.