Analyzing if Broncos’ Gutsy Rebuild is the Right Decision

The Denver Broncos are bearing down and taking their medicine.

It’s a necessary process to help anyone overcome an illness. Since winning Super Bowl 50, the Broncos have been diseased, playing with a malaise.

Despite a glimpse of hope for a playoff run last season, the Broncos’ on-field play has been mediocre. Broncos fans have felt the flu-like symptoms of headaches, sore throats, and fatigue as they stammered out of Empower Field after a heart-wrenching loss.

Broncos are Taking Their Medicine & It's the Right Decision - Sports  Illustrated Mile High Huddle: Denver Broncos News, Analysis and More

However, the healing winds of change can blow in different directions. The Broncos’ leadership has set the organization on a new path to get the team healthy and to begin forging a path back to Super Bowl relevance.

Under former GM John Elway’s leadership, there was a reluctance to go through the growing pains of rebuilding the roster, instead adding free agents to plug the vast holes in the roster. This was combined with a litany of well-intentioned but mediocre and sometimes high-priced quarterbacks who couldn’t rise to the moment in crucial games.

Not hitting on enough draft picks made the situation more difficult, leaving the Broncos with an insufficient pool of talent to compete consistently with the top teams in the NFL.

After another losing season, it appears that the Broncos’ power triumvirate — co-owner and CEO Greg Penner, head coach Sean Payton, and GM George Paton — have embraced Einstein’s mantra: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Complicating the matter is owing $39 million to Russell Wilson next season. However, the Broncos have yet to voice publicly that they’re executing a roster rebuild, though their actions are speaking louder than words.

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The Broncos’ relative lack of action in free agency, especially in not making the quarterback room more competitive by adding a quality bridge veteran into the mix, is conspicuous, combined with releasing veteran safety Justin Simmons, allowing quality center Lloyd Cushenberry III to depart in free agency, and trading mercurial wide receiver Jerry Jeudy to the Cleveland Browns. Along with other roster moves, it’s clear that Penner has greenlit Payton to orchestrate a necessary, hard reset to get things on track.

However, this series of decisions will likely negatively impact the number of wins in the upcoming season. But it will place the organization on a trajectory toward long-term success.

The Broncos will make significant progress toward getting on the other side of the failed Wilson trade. The team’s salary cap will normalize and allow the Broncos to return to typical free-agent acquisitions that will fill critical roster needs.

The number and quality of draft picks should improve. If Payton and Paton can enhance their success in selecting impactful draftees, the roster will become younger and manageable under the cap, giving the organization increased flexibility to address position needs.

But for this to work, the Broncos must find a long-term quarterback solution in this year’s draft. With the 12th pick in the draft and no second-round pick, it’s unlikely that the Broncos will have the ammo to move up to get one of the top three quarterbacks.

Look for the Broncos to trade back later in the first round to gain more draft capital and remain in a position to acquire Oregon quarterback Bo Nix or Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.

So, Bronco Country, strap in for a roller coaster ride for the upcoming season. The Broncos are locked in the foundational concrete of a rebuild.

Watch and hold the Broncos’ leadership trio accountable for making decisions that will place the team in consistent playoff contention in 2025 and beyond. Remember, taking medicine may taste bad, but that’s a small price to pay if it restores your health.


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