Broncos Deemed ‘Failing’ in Attempts to Rebuild Franchise

Sean Payton

Getty Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton.

The Denver Broncos are doing a pretty stellar job of being tthe NFL’s version of Humpty Dumpty in recent years — a shattered franchise that doesn’t seem like anyone can put back together again.

Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine took the Broncos to task in a list of NFL franchises “failing” in their plans to rebuild.

“The Denver Broncos made things difficult on themselves the day they traded for Russell Wilson,” Ballentine wrote. “It might be unfair to criticize them for a move they made in 2022, but the decision created the context for the entire 2024 offseason. Sean Payton and Wilson couldn’t create a working relationship, so the Broncos had to make a decision between their head coach and quarterback this offseason. They opted to side with the coach.

“… However, their decision still left them in a place where they will be splitting an $85 million dead cap charge over the next two seasons.”

No team in NFL history has dealt with a financial situation like the ones the Broncos currently find themselves in — one that might leave their fans reeling after another few seasons without a playoff appearance.

QB Situation Makes Future Murky in Denver

If one player can turn around a franchise, it’s going to be a quarterback 9 times out of 10. In Denver they’re hoping that player will be 2024 first-round pick Bo Nix, who the Broncos took with the No. 12 overall pick out of Oregon.

Not everyone is convinced Nix has what it takes. The Broncos haven’t even named him the starter over veteran disasters Jarrett Stidham and Zach Wilson, with the three ostensibly involved a quarterback battle that couldn’t be decided through OTAs and minicamp.

“Denver selected Bo Nix with the 12th overall selection in the draft, but he was the sixth signal-caller taken and the 61st overall player on our big board,” Ballentine wrote. “The Broncos are putting a lot of trust in Payton to help the Oregon product outperform his pre-draft perception.”

The main critique of Nix is that he was in an offense tailored to his every strength at Oregon. He set an NCAA single-season record by completing 77.4 percent of his passes in 2023 — a number that doesn’t seem as shiny when you consider 30 percent of those passes were completed behind the line of scrimmage.

Contract Situations Looming Over Broncos

The Broncos have several looming contract situations that need to be resolved.

The most pressing at the moment is wide receiver Courtland Sutton, who is essentially demanding a raise as he threatens to sit out of training camp. Sutton is the Broncos’ best option at the position — which is a problem in itself — as their leading receiver the last two seasons and the last Bronco to top 1,000 receiving yards in a single season … in 2019.

Beyond that, offensive tackle Garrett Bolles could be due for a big raise and is in the final year of a 4-year, $68 million contract. Cornerback Patrick Surtain II is also due to cash in on a big deal in the near future.

All of this after having to cut one of their best players, safety Justin Simmons, in a salary cap move after he made his third consecutive NFL All-Pro Team in 2023.

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