Broncos $21 Million Star Floated as ‘Likely’ Draft Night Trade Candidate

George Paton, Denver Broncos

Getty General Manager George Paton of the Denver Broncos.

The Denver Broncos picked up the fifth-year option on Pat Surtain II’s contract. The $19.8 million decision (in 2025) has not quelled trade speculation.

Their trade for Zach Wilson seemingly took the pressure off them to break the bank in a trade to land a quarterback in the 2024 draft. But multiple reports emerged after that deal suggesting they will press forward in their pursuit.

Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay believes Surtain is a “likely” trade candidate on draft night.

“The Denver Broncos appear to be downright desperate to find a franchise quarterback in the 2024 draft. That burning desire could lead them to trade one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks before his rookie contract is even close to expiring,” Kay wrote on April 23. “The allure of Surtain could get a team like the Cardinals … to move down on draft night.”

Surtain signed a four-year $20.9 million rookie pact. He is one of nine players to earn at least two Pro Bowl trips and one All-Pro selection in their first three seasons since 2020, per Stathead.

He is one of just 18 cornerbacks in NFL history with that distinction.

“Giving up a 24-year-old who is just entering his prime and projects to have plenty more great years ahead of him isn’t ideal,” Kay wrote, “but the Broncos don’t have a clear path forward without an elite quarterback.”

Broncos Willing to Trade ‘King’s Ransom’ for QB

Sean Payton, Denver Broncos

GettyDenver Broncos head coach Sean Payton.

SportsKeeda’s Tony Pauline reported the Broncos could be willing to include Surtain in a package to move up for a quarterback. He cited Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy as the target.

“There’s talk that Sean Payton is ready to give up a king’s ransom to move up and acquire one of the top signal callers available,” Pauline wrote on April 20. “Once again, there’s talk the Broncos will dangle Patrick Surtain II as part of a package to trade up for a quarterback.

“Which quarterback is Payton targeting? I continue to be told it is J.J. McCarthy.”

Peyton Manning told “Stokely and Josh” on April 23 that the Broncos are “very interested” in McCarthy and vice versa. But he also noted that it was out of McCarthy’s control.

All of that sets the stage for a move such as Pauline and Kay suggest is possible, especially with the uncertainty around Surtain. But there is still a gap from where things stand with the stud corner and the Broncos trying to trade him away in a draft blockbuster.

Pauline also said Oregon’s Bo Nix was the Broncos’ “contingency” plan.

The speculation about who the Broncos could select reflects the uncertainty this time of year. That includes Surtain’s contract. But 9News’ Mike Klis presented the situation differently.

Insider Makes Key Note on Pat Surtain’s Contract

Pat Surtain II, Denver Broncos

GettyPat Surtain II #2 of the Denver Broncos.

“[Broncos general manager] George Paton told 9News at Combine it would be no-brainer decision [to pick up Surtain’s fifth-year option],” Klis posted on X on April 23. “It’s not uncommon for this type of large one-year salary to eventually be folded into a multiyear extension.”

Surtain was also a big part of the team’s grand rollout of their new uniforms.

Klis pointed to Courtland Sutton’s jersey being on display during the event on April 22 as a positive sign amid the player’s contract holdout.

Surtain carries a reasonable $6.7 million cap hit this season. A contract extension would likely lower Surtain’s 2025 cap hit substantially while securing the future for both sides. The Broncos had until May 2 to make this decision.

They still have the franchise tag for three years after the 2025 season.

However, that isn’t ideal for anyone. That is even more reason to figure something out sooner rather than later.

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