Insider Sheds Light on Broncos’ Trade Plans for Disgruntled Team Captain

Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos

Getty Courtland Sutton #14 of the Denver Broncos.

Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton is staying away from team voluntarily workouts as he seeks new money. Sutton will earn $13 million in the third year of a four-year, $60.8 million contract.

However, he has just $2 million in guarantees this season. Meanwhile, former teammate Jerry Jeudy signed a three-year, $52 million contract with $41 million in total guarantees.

Sutton’s contract – which he signed in 2021 – came with $34.9 million in total guarantees.

“The #Broncos have received multiple trade inquiries on wide receiver Courtland Sutton, per sources,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on X on April 20. “The Broncos do not plan to trade Sutton, who is skipping voluntary workouts due to his contract.

“Sutton is due $13M in base salary ($2M guaranteed) and would like an adjustment based on his role as a team leader in a transitional year and ongoing quarterback instability (playing for nine different QBs since 2018). This is the second consecutive offseason that he’s garnered trade interest.”

“It’s 100% voluntary,” General Manager George Paton told reporters on April 19 of Sutton’s absence. “It’s first week of the offseason program, Sean [Payton]‘s talked to Courtland, I’ve talked to Courland. He’s in a good place we’ll just leave it.”

The Broncos originally selected Sutton with the No. 40 overall pick in 2018. He currently ranks 13th in receiving yards and 16th in touchdowns in franchise history.

Sutton recorded a career-high 10 touchdowns with 772 yards in 59 receptions last season.

The Broncos’ active offseason – which included cutting nine-time Pro Bowler Russell Wilson – has the 2023 team captain, Sutton, tracking to be one of four offensive skill players to return for Week 1 next season.

Cortland Sutton Underwent Offseason Surgery

Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos

GettyCourtland Sutton #14 of the Denver Broncos.

Sutton has an additional incentive to seek new money aside from the ever-changing landscape of the NFL.

His health could also be a big part of the equation.

“Per source, Courtland Sutton had offseason ankle surgery. Injury occurred in 2023 finale at Raiders,” 9News’ Mike Klis reported on X on April 16. “Doesn’t seem like team or Courtland is concerned. Team picked up his $2M guarantee option in March. He has been working out daily in Florida.”

Sutton has missed three games in the last two seasons.

Outside of his injury-wiped 2020 campaign, he has been available for every game of his NFL career.

However, he also has just one 1,000-yard season to his credit. He also tallied four touchdown grabs total over the 2021 and 2022 seasons combined. He ranks 29th in receiving yards since entering the league in 2018.

The Broncos’ stance is not new. And it is one that they have put into practice with teams showing interest in Sutton.

Broncos Resisted Courtland Sutton Trade to Ravens in 2023

Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos

GettyCourtland Sutton #14 of the Denver Broncos.

“Desperate for a quality veteran receiver, the Ravens explored trade and free-agent possibilities,” The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec wrote in April 2023. “At one point, there appeared to be a deal to be made for Courtland Sutton, but the Denver Broncos decided they didn’t want to trade him.”

It wasn’t just Baltimore, either.

The Philadelphia Eagles also showed an interest in Sutton, though that was during the pre-draft process in 2018.

Denver brass’ stance is understandable in the wake of the changes they have made this offseason. But it’s fair to wonder if their best path to landing the quarterback they want in this draft includes moving Sutton to a new team.