Proposed Broncos Trade Sends ‘Expensive’ Offer to Land QB for Sean Payton

Sean Payton, Denver Broncos

Getty Head coach Sean Payton of the Denver Broncos.

The Denver Broncos’ quarterback search is not over.

General Manager George Paton and Head Coach Sean Payton have suggested another quarterback will be brought in to compete with Jarrett Stidham for the starting job next season.

It remains unclear which direction they will go. But, amid the Broncos’ persistent interest in the incoming crop of quarterbacks, speculation about a potential trade up to land one has only gained steam.

In his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Matt Miller projected a hypothetical move up to No. 4.

“With quarterbacks going 1-2-3 to start the draft, I could see the Broncos getting on the phone and sending a package to Arizona for the No. 4 pick to get QB4,” Miller wrote on March 27. “The deal is molded like the deal the 49ers made in 2021 to move up for Trey Lance, and yes, it’s an expensive trade package.”

Broncos get:

– 2024 first-round pick (No. 4 overall)

Cardinals get:

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

Payton pointed out Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort‘s admirable position, sitting with a pick several teams figure to covet.

For his part, Ossenfort declared himself “open” for business at a press conference on March 20.

J.J. McCarthy Could Be a More Athletic Drew Brees

J.J. McCarthy, Denver Broncos

GettyJ.J. McCarthy #9 of the Michigan Wolverines.

“If Broncos coach Sean Payton lands his quarterback, no one will care much about the cost to move up to get him,” Miller wrote.

“McCarthy is a tough, instinctive and accurate quarterback with above-average mobility and great play from the pocket. I’m not saying he’s Drew Brees, but the style of play would fit very well with what Payton ran in New Orleans.”

The comparisons to Brees have been consistent for McCarthy – who led the Michigan Wolverines to a National Championship this past season – before the Broncos trade rumors began in earnest. draft analyst Lance Zierlein made note of Brees’ ability to process. But he added that the former Saints star didn’t have McCarthy’s athleticism.

“McCarthy is relatively inexperienced with just 28 starts in college, but he left Michigan with a 27-1 record,” Miller wrote. “He completed 72.1% of his passes and threw only four picks last season, and his third-down QBR of 86.7 was 11th-best in the nation. McCarthy would be a sure bet to beat out Jarrett Stidham and start Week 1 for Denver.”

That last bit is most important, especially if the Broncos trade that much capital to land a QB.

Payton has spoken highly of Stidham in the past, expressing his belief the former fourth-round pick of the New England Patriots could be a starter one day.

However, Payton hedged his faith in Stidham during the AFC coaches breakfast at the NFL owners meeting in Orlando. That is where Payont continued to acknowledge eventual competition for Stidham while admitting they were still unsure about his ceiling.

Broncos’ Actions Speak Loudly Amid Trade Rumors

George Paton, Denver Broncos

GettyGeneral manager George Paton of the Denver Broncos.

The Broncos have had officials at every pro day, though not always on the offensive side of the ball, and never with Payton on hand. Payton acknowledged missing McCarthy’s pro day.

However, he put the QB through a private workout later. The Broncos were also slated to have a similar meeting with LSU’s Jayden Daniels. But none of the Broncos’ potential interest has seemed strong or more consistent than in McCarthy.

Payton also called the idea of the Broncos making a trade “realistic.”

Brees comparisons aside, Paton has shown consistent interest in the QB. He announced plans to meet with him at the scouting combine and attended his pro day workout.

That is far from a guarantee the Broncos want McCarthy. And it could all be a smoke screen.

This is the time of the season for misinformation from clubs looking to conceal their intentions. But the Broncos’ interest matches the reviews about McCarthy that have flowed since the season ended and he began the pre-draft workout and interview process.