Proposed Trade Sees Broncos Move Up to No. 2 for Star QB Prospect

Sean Payton, Denver Broncos

Getty Head coach Sean Payton of the Denver Broncos.

The Denver Broncos are expected to make Russell Wilson a post-June 1 cut, per Denver7’s Troy Renck on February 12. That will spread his $85 million dead cap hit across two seasons.

It would also leave them with an apparent void at quarterback. They still have Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci under contract. But speculation about how they will address the issue this offseason continues to increase.

Pro Football Focus’ Trevor Sikkema believes a trade for one in particular could be in order.

“I believe the market for quarterbacks in this draft will be red hot, and we’ll see that solidify after free agency,” Sikkema wrote on February 12.

“Teams such as the Falcons, Raiders, Broncos and Vikings will all be looking to move up for a quarterback. Here, I have an aggressive Sean Payton moving from No. 12 to No. 2 by giving up the same compensation package the 49ers offered to move up from No. 12 to No. 3 for Trey Lance in 2021.”

Sikkema’s hypothetical trade scenario is with the Washington Commanders for the right to draft North Carolina’s Drake Maye:

Broncos get:

– 2024 first-round pick (No. 2 overall)

Commanders get:

– 2024 first-round pick (No. 12 overall)
– 2025 first-round pick
– 2025 second-round pick
– 2026 second-round pick

This is a costly way to secure a quarterback. The Broncos are already light on draft capital after trading for Payton last offseason. However, this hypothetical deal notably excludes cornerback Patrick Surtain II or any other key pieces that have been included in previous iterations.

Proposed Trade Sees Broncos Take North Carolina QB Drake Maye With No. 2 Pick

Drake Maye, Denver Broncos

GettyDrake Maye #10 of the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Maye has been the presumed No. 2 quarterback on the board through most of the pre-draft process to this point, even overtaking USC’s Caleb Williams in the eyes of some evaluators.

He has also slipped behind LSU’s Jayden Daniels for other league figures.

The 6-foot-5 Maye completed 63.3% of his passes for 3,608 yards and 24 touchdowns with 9 interceptions. It was a step back from his 2022 campaign in which he completed 66.2% of his passes for 4,321 yards, 38 touchdowns and 7 picks.

If the Broncos move up to select Maye as in this scenario, he is projected to land a four-year, $36.8 million contract as the No. 2 overall pick, per Spotrac.

That is roughly $9.2 million annually which is significant for the currently over-the-cap Broncos.

The idea of the Broncos trading up for a quarterback tracks given their current situation. But the target might not. Not in light of comments made by Payton ahead of the Super Bowl in which he alluded to still seeking his guy under center.

Sean Payton’s Comments Loom Large

Sean Payton, Denver Broncos

GettyHead Coach Sean Payton of the Denver Broncos.

“We start draft meetings Monday,” Payton said on “Up & Adams” on February 9. “So everything you’ve heard and read about us — we’re going to trade up, trade down — I can’t tell you the jersey numbers of these rookie quarterbacks. We haven’t even seen them yet.”

The veracity of those remarks has come under question.

Payton has praised Williams in years past. But that could also cast doubt on this hypothetical trade scenario.

Would Payton – and general manager George Paton, for that matter – sign off on such an expensive trade for a quarterback he may not be enamored with? With Williams the only one garnering that kind of respect from the head coach, a different path may prevail in the end.

Equally as important, would Washington pass on their potential quarterback of the future?