Just when you thought the Denver Broncos couldn’t actually get worse from the disastrous Nathaniel Hackett season, Sean Payton swoops in and is on pace to fail to exceed “one of the worst coaching jobs in NFL history.”
Denver sits at 1-5 after a really dull 19-8 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and with an exceptionally hard schedule in the weeks to come it’s safe to say that the playoffs ain’t happening in the Mile High City. Russell Wilson is set for no postseason football for the third straight year, and evidently he’s off to a worse start in Denver than Drew Lock had.
There’s still some business to be done with the Broncos as it pertains to next year’s NFL Draft, but it’s a little complicated and deserves clarity. You may recall that separately from the Russell Wilson trade, the Seahawks traded their 2023 third-round pick to the Broncos, who used it on cornerback Riley Moss (zero defensive snaps played). Seattle received the 2023 fourth-rounder used on Anthony Bradford, as well as a 2024 third-round pick. Seems straightforward... except Denver has multiple third-round picks.
Denver gave up a first- and second-round pick acquired a third-rounder from the New Orleans Saints as part of the trade to get Sean Payton, so they have their native pick and New Orleans’ pick. So which one will the Seahawks get? Based on what Seahawks beat reporter John Boyle wrote in May from his chronicling of Seattle’s draft, it’s conditional.
The bold emphasis is mine.
With about a minute left on the clock, Thomas calls in the trade, which sends the 83rd pick to Denver in exchange for a fourth-rounder (No. 108 overall), as well as a third-round pick in next year’s draft, the later of either Denver’s own third-rounder or the one they acquired in an earlier trade with New Orleans. Schneider would explain after the draft that adding picks for next year had been a goal coming into the draft, as they see next year’s class as being a strong one.
“Later” in this sense means lower in the pecking order (e.g. the 72nd pick is lower than the 65th pick). The Saints, unfortunately, are 3-2 behind a strong defense and they don’t have a particularly daunting schedule. It’d have to take either a considerable rally from the Broncos or a huge collapse by New Orleans in order for Denver’s native pick to convey to Seattle.
In other words, the Broncos stink so badly that it actually benefits their own draft capital to continue to be worse than the Saints.
Am I using the plight of Denver as a ploy for page views after the goldmine that was 2022? Yes. But is it also informative and something you should keep note of? Yes.
What you should be doing is pulling for New Orleans’ season to unravel so the Seahawks have a shot at picking in the top-75. And if you’re the petty kind, maybe you’re hoping the Saints go 3-14 and the Broncos can claw their way to 4-13 so that the Seahawks can get Denver’s own pick after all.