ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The NFL’s veteran wide receiver market is a little thinner after Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton declared neither Jerry Jeudy nor Courtland Sutton are on the trade block.
Payton made the comments while speaking to the NFL Network on Sunday, the first day of the league’s spring owners meetings in Arizona.
“We’re not trading those two players,” Payton said, acknowledging the Broncos have received inquiries about the availability of the wide receivers who combined for 1,801 yards receiving and eight TD receptions in 2022.
“We’ve received calls, you bet. Those are two good football players,” Payton said. “But we’re in the business of gathering talent right now. Why do people call? Because they know we’re void of draft picks and that we might, because there was some discussions a year ago, I think, regarding Courtland. But we like the current group that we’re working with.”
The Broncos have just five picks in the NFL draft next month and they own no selections until the third round after parting with premium picks to acquire quarterback Russell Wilson from Seattle last year and Payton from the Saints this winter.
Wilson cost them first- and second-round picks last year and this year and they had to send a first-rounder they acquired from Miami in the Bradley Chubb trade to New Orleans in order to hire Payton.
Jeudy has never lived up to his status as a 2020 first-round pick, mostly because of injuries, although he came on strong at the end of last season, posting big numbers after he was moved to the flanker position.
Sutton, a second-round selection in 2019, hasn’t been the same since tearing an ACL in 2020. He has caught just two touchdown passes in each of the last two seasons.
Also, the Broncos’ depth at the position took a hit last week when speedster K.J. Hamler, another receiver whose career has been marked by injuries, tore a chest muscle while working out. He’s expected to be out up to six months.
Tim Patrick, the Broncos’ most productive receiver, is returning from a torn ACL that cost him all of the 2022 season.
Following Hamler’s latest injury, the Broncos signed free agent wide receiver Marquez Callaway, a fourth-year pro who played for Payton in New Orleans.
It was also revealed last week that Wilson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery after the season, but is on track to participate in the team’s offseason program next month.