Kiz: Broncos general manager George Paton recently spent more than $95 million, including in excess of $50 million guaranteed, in new deals for receivers Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick. During an embarrassing 22-9 loss to Kansas City, however, Sutton and Patrick produced only three receptions for a grand total of 24 yards after being targeted 11 times by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Did Paton throw good money down the drain?
O’Halloran: Handing out receiver contracts days apart remains an interesting development, particularly because Jerry Jeudy is making plays befitting a No. 1 target. But two games is too small of a sample size to serve as a judgment on the deals because Paton is playing the long game, trying to keep (and then gather) assets that make the Broncos attractive to a veteran quarterback next March. But the numbers also don’t fib — Sutton and Patrick should be more involved. In the last four games, Sutton has nine catches and Patrick 13.
Kiz: The Denver offense definitely isn’t explosive and often isn’t efficient. Should we place all the blame at the feet of offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Bridgewater? Or is it fair to wonder that outside of rookie running back Javonte Williams and 2020 first-round pick Jerry Jeudy, the Broncos’ simply don’t have enough playmakers? Patrick can help you move the sticks on third down. But is either he or Sutton a true big-play threat?
O’Halloran: Much of the criticism should be directed at the play-caller (Pat) and trigger man (Teddy), which you correctly took to task after the Chiefs’ 12th consecutive win over the Broncos. Where is the originality? Where is the smart-but-aggressive chances? Where is the downfield accuracy? The Broncos called an early shot to Patrick, but Bridgewater overthrew him. They threw a pass to Sutton down the right sideline, but he couldn’t break free of coverage. And they went deep to Sutton, but the pass wasn’t anywhere close to being accurate. In the biggest game of the year, the Broncos were particularly short-handed at quarterback.
Kiz: I understand the logic behind the new deal for Patrick. He’s a football warrior. While Sutton is a solid teammate and stand-up guy, he doesn’t strike me as either a true No. 1 receiver or a target who will make it any more likely for Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers to dream of playing quarterback for the Broncos in 2022. While I firmly believe Paton has shown what it takes to be the GM who returns this team to an elite level, I also think he showed too much love to Sutton.
O’Halloran: Part of the receiver deals to me is retaining what you know rather than going back into the draft for a pass-catcher since Sutton and Patrick were both headed to free agency and only one could be franchise tagged. The Broncos have multiple needs and may have fewer picks if Paton uses those assets in a quarterback trade. I do think they make the Broncos more attractive to Wilson and Rodgers, but they or another veteran passer will have to really dig into the tape to find out how they fit with Sutton/Patrick. The Chiefs’ game tape probably wasn’t a good indicator.
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