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Payton: ‘Realistic’ that Denver Broncos trade up for top QB in draft

Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton says there is a “realistic” chance that the team will trade up in next month’s NFL Draft in order to select a top quarterback prospect.

Earlier this month, Denver released Russell Wilson after two underwhelming seasons with the veteran as their starter, taking a record-breaking $85million hit in dead money.

With Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci the only remaining quarterbacks on their roster, some Broncos fans have grown worried about the team’s plans for the position.

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Denver have the number 12 overall pick in the draft after going 8-9 through the 2023 season, a slot which will likely fall too late for them to take a franchise quarterback.

Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy has been linked with the team but could go as high as third or fourth overall, and Payton has acknowledged they may have to strike a deal for a higher pick.

“I would rather the angst be now than in September and October,” Payton said at the NFL’s Annual Meeting on Monday.

“The draft is one element, and we’re kind of in that phase now. There’s still a few possibilities relative to guys that are currently in this league or that have played in this league.

“I think that we’ve got a pretty good plan in place. We understand what we’re doing, and we’re going to be smart about it.”

Payton also noted Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort could be open to giving up the team’s number four pick, saying: “It’s good to be Monti in Arizona today.

“It’s hard to predict what that cost is, and yet I certainly wouldn’t say it’s unrealistic and we’ll pay close attention to it.”

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