Broncos potentially willing to give up "king's ransom" for Patriots pick

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders / Candice Ward/GettyImages

With Eliot Wolf keeping the door open for a potential trade-down scenario for the Patriots third overall pick next Thursday, the latest rumor surrounding the Broncos' desire for a quarterback seem to be relevant more than ever.

After two tumultuous seasons in Denver, Russell Wilson was released earlier this year and eventually signed a one-year contract with the Steelers. Things were so bad between the quarterback and head coach Sean Payton in Mile High that the team is willing to eat $85 million in dead cap over the next two seasons, an NFL historical high.

That puts them in a position to need a new quarterback, and according to NFL insider Tony Pauline, Payton wants to do all he can to get him into this year's draft.

Broncos potentially willing to give up "king's ransom" for a top-3 pick

Because the Bears will stick with the No. 1 overall pick and the assumption is that the Commanders will stay with theirs at No. 2, the Patriots become the first potential trade partner for Payton to contact. Wolf further confirmed that on Thursday when speaking to reporters ahead of next week's draft, stating the team is considering all possibilities for their first round selection.

All speculation regarding a trade-up scenario for teams outside the top 10 has involved multiple first-rounders, this year and in the future, and potentially a top player, all hoping to entice a team like the Patriots to give up their coveted spot.

Most of the conversation has involved the Vikings because they now hold two first-rounders, but the Broncos are another team to sneak into the mix based on this recent report.

According to Pauline, Payton is willing to give up a bucketload of draft capital and a top defensive player that the Patriots could certainly use.

"Any package to move up will include at least one future first-round pick as well as [Patrick] Surtain II and the 12th selection in this year's draft."

The insider labeled this potential trade package as a "king's ransom." Although it doesn't have as many future first-round selections as the proposed trades with the Vikings, receiving a cornerback of Surtain II's caliber would give the Patriots one of the top secondaries in the entire NFL, which might make up for the lack of future picks.

Surtain II is only 24 years old and has already impressed through three years of his professional career. He's recorded 187 combined tackles, seven interceptions returned for 67 yards and a touchdown, and 36 passes defended.

The thought of him and Christian Gonzalez making up the cornerback room in New England for the next several years could be enough to convince even the biggest 'quarterback or bust' supporter.

The Patriots will have to decide if forgoing a QB this year is worth it to accept this trade

But the Patriots would have to be good with giving up drafting one of the best quarterback prospects in this year's class, as they would essentially be settling for one of the second-tier players in either Bo Nix or Michael Penix Jr.

The Broncos are said to have their eyes on rising star J.J. McCarthy, who has gone from an early second-rounder/late first to a projected top-5 quarterback, meaning Payton will need to be in contact with the Patriots about a potential trade ASAP.

"Which quarterback is Payton targeting Thursday? I continue to be told it is J.J. McCarthy, something I initially reported in my initial post-combine mock draft at the start of March. Payton wants a quarterback with outstanding intelligence and the ability to quickly get rid of the ball, just like Mahomes, and he believes McCarthy is the best fit."

Wolf seemed open to all prospects when meeting with the press on Thursday, even stating he feels there are six top prospects in this year's draft. But they probably have their hopes set on one or two in particular, and if they don't fall to them at No. 3, perhaps they'd seriously consider trading with Denver.

It's a big decision, especially if it means holding off on a quarterback until later in the draft or until next year. No matter which direction the team decides to take, we could be in store for a longer rebuild than many fans hope for.

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