Bills Urged to Trade for $20 Million Broncos CB Patrick Surtain

Patrick Surtain

Getty Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II on April 29, 2021.

The Buffalo Bills defense took a devastating hit when cornerback Tre’Davious White suffered a season-ending Achilles tear against the Miami Dolphins in Week 4.

While the team signed Herb Miller to the practice squad on October 3, the Bills are encouraged to find a legit replacement for the All-Pro veteran.

The Buffalo News reporter Ryan O’Halloran urged general manager Brandon Beane to pick up the phone and call the Denver Broncos about a trade for cornerback Patrick Surtain II.

Surtain, the Broncos first-round pick from the 2021 NFL draft is a “long shot,” but O’Halloran suggests it’s worth going “all in” for a “terrific cornerback” like Surtain, 23, especially with so many aging veterans on the Bills defense.

So, what would it take to land the former Alabama star in Buffalo?

O’Halloran suggested the Bills offer their 2022 first-round pick, Kaiir Elam, who’s been a healthy scratch throughout the first four weeks of the season, a 2024 first and a 2025 second-rounder, the latter of which could turn into a first if Buffalo wins the Super Bowl this season or next.

As for Surtain’s salary, he’s in the second year of his $20.96 million rookie contract and has a cap hit of $5.7 million this season.

However, “Surtain would be a bargain next year – his base salary is only $1.05 million and he has a $2.46 million roster bonus,” O’Halloran wrote. “Trading Elam would mean ‘dead’ cap hits of $3.57 million and $1.78 million in 2023-24, respectively.”

While rumors of Elam being on the trade block have swirled for months, he’ll have a chance to prove himself with White out of the picture. It’s also hard to see Beane taking such a big swing when they have three young and able corners with Christian Benford and Dane Jackson, along with Taron Johnson in the slot.

Patrick Surtain’s Father Kickstarted Trade Rumors

Surtain’s father, Patrick Surtain, who played cornerback for 11 seasons in the NFL, might be pushing for his son to get traded. He posted on X after Denver’s 70-20 blowout loss to the Dolphins, “Toiling in the soil!! SMH 2 you deserve better.”

While Surtain got cooked by the Dolphins, along with the rest of his team in that historic loss, he’s recorded six interceptions, including a pick-six, one forced fumble, and 131 tackles in 37 games with the Broncos.

The Broncos are 1-3 and appear to have no shot to even top their own division. While it’s hard to imagine general manager George Paton letting him go, the prospect of getting a few first-rounders could sway him.

The Athletic wrote, “Surtain is a dream player teams typically shouldn’t dream of trading. And even in the Broncos’ current state, that still may ring true. But Denver has reached a point where nothing should be considered off the table.”

The Bills Would Have to Cut Tre’Davious White in Order to Afford Patrick Surtain

Tre White

GettyBills cornerback Tre’Davious White at Highmark Stadium on January 08, 2023.

A big consideration for the Bills when it comes to trading for Surtain is looking ahead to his extension, as he’s projected to become one of the league’s highest-paid corners.

Surtain “is eligible for a contract extension in March 2024,” O’Halloran wrote. “The Bills would pick up his fifth-year option for 2025,” which would be $19.73 million if Surtain makes a second Pro Bowl.

“The aforementioned fifth-year option number could be lowered with a contract extension that pushes money into the future when the cap will continue to rise.” Therefore, he suggests cutting ties with White, 28.

“The tough decision for Beane would be moving on from White after the season. (It’s OK to feel bad for White about his injury, but the game and the football business goes on – he would be the first to admit that.) Cutting White would result in $10.36 million and $4.13 million ‘dead’ cap hits in 2024-25. But the Bills create $6.26 million and $12.54 million, respectively, in space.”

Calling it “tough” to cut White would be an understatement. He was the Bills first-round pick when Sean McDermott first took over as head coach in 2017 and has been a core member of the Bills roster ever since. Based on how emotional McDermott was while talking to reporters following White’s injury, it’s hard to imagine Buffalo cutting the veteran before he has a chance for a comeback.