May 28, 2024

The Denver Broncos have an opportunity to achieve a winning record for the first time since 2016. However, this doesn’t guarantee that the team won’t undergo significant changes in the upcoming offseason. As they face the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 18, they are projected to exceed the 2024 cap limit.

To address their cap situation, the Broncos may need to part ways with some players, possibly through trades or outright releases. The team experienced a rollercoaster season, starting 1-5 but then winning five consecutive games to reach 6-5. Unfortunately, their momentum slowed, going 2-3 in the last five games and diminishing their playoff hopes.

Despite being officially eliminated, finishing the year at 9-8 would mean concluding the season 8-3 after the challenging 1-5 start. The Broncos reflect on missed opportunities, especially considering what could have been if they had performed better in the initial six games.

Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos

As the 2023 NFL Season wraps up, a few Broncos players find themselves on the hot seat. Who are they?

3 Denver Broncos on the hot seat entering Week 18 of 2023 season
1. Russell Wilson, QB

It’s quite evident that the Broncos made a significant decision by sidelining Russell Wilson before their Week 17 game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Despite the absence of key players like Courtland Sutton and Marvin Mims Jr, the offensive dynamics remained largely unchanged with Jarrett Stidham at the helm, highlighting a crucial aspect.

The decision to bench Wilson appears to be driven by financial and performance considerations, irrespective of the public relations statements from both Wilson and the Denver camp. As is often the case, the reality likely lies somewhere between the two perspectives. Wilson now faces uncertainty about his future with the Broncos beyond this season, despite having relocated his family to Denver with a long-term vision of playing for the team.

The underwhelming statistics posted by Wilson this year may serve as a compelling reason for the Broncos to explore alternative options in 2024.

2. Jerry Jeudy, WR

As a devoted Broncos supporter, I’ve heard various explanations regarding Jerry Jeudy’s struggle to make a breakthrough. However, it’s possible that Jeudy might not be as exceptional as we initially believed. Since his selection in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Jeudy has experienced both highs and lows during his time in Denver. While he delivered commendable performances in his rookie and third seasons, surpassing 850 receiving yards each year, this season has been rather lackluster.

His performance in the current year has been uninspiring, with several opportunities to shine. In the team’s Week 14 match against the Chargers, Jeudy had three notable setbacks. He failed to secure two long passes from Russell Wilson and couldn’t land a second foot in bounds on what should have been a routine touchdown catch.

Despite his struggles, the team exercised Jeudy’s fifth-year option, ensuring his contract extends into 2024. The financial commitment isn’t overwhelming, but it’s doubtful the Broncos will retain Jeudy unless he demonstrates a compelling reason to do so. A remarkable performance in Week 18 might be the key for Jeudy to secure his spot. Additionally, with fellow wide receiver Courtland Sutton having just one year left on his contract, the Broncos’ receiving corps could undergo significant changes in 2024.

3. George Paton, General Manager

When Russell Wilson was benched, it raised concerns about General Manager George Paton’s future in Denver. Paton’s tenure, initially praised in 2021, has been marred by questionable decisions beyond the NFL Draft. The firing of Vic Fangio appears to have been a mistake, and the hiring of Nathaniel Hackett was a significant error. The trade for Russell Wilson and Paton’s free-agent moves, such as missing on players like Randy Gregory, DJ Jones, and K’Waun Williams, have tarnished his reputation.

Despite being a skilled talent evaluator, particularly demonstrated in drafting Patrick Surtain II and possibly Nik Bonitto, Paton may be better suited for a head college scouting role. With head coach Sean Payton having final roster authority, Paton might be reluctant to continue in his current GM role without that level of control.

There is a chance that Paton’s role could be adjusted to keep him in Denver, but there’s also a real possibility of his dismissal at the end of the year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *