It was back in 2019 that Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton looked to be one of the better young receivers in the game. The former second-round pick from Southern Methodist eclipsed 1,100 yards in catching passes from a combination of Joe Flacco and Drew Lock.
Sutton’s ascension to stardom took a hit early in his third season when the 6-foot-4 receiver suffered a torn ACL just one game in. He has not necessarily been the same player since, failing to record as much as 900 yards in each of the past two seasons.
This has led to some speculation that Denver might look to trade Sutton at some point before the 2023 NFL Draft. He’s playing under a four-year, $60.8 million contract and did not mesh well with Russell Wilson in the quarterback’s first season with the Broncos (58.7% catch rate).
Under new head coach Sean Payton, the Broncos might simply want to go in another direction. Dating back to his days with the New Orleans Saints, Payton has gotten a lot from underpriced wide receivers. His offense seems to play into that narrative.
If the Broncos do end up moving Courtland Sutton, there’s going to be a market for his services. Two years removed from a torn ACL and with a track record of success, he’s not going to be void of interest. Here, we look at four ideal trade scenarios.
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Chicago Bears continue attempt to solve wide receiver issues
One on hand it makes little sense for Chicago to team up two 6-foot-4 receivers in that of Courtland Sutton and Chase Claypool. On the other hand, getting Justin Fields more pass-catching help should be the overriding goal this offseason.
Last season saw Darnell Mooney lead Bears receivers with 40 catches. After that? Equanimeous St. Brown was second with just 21. This is not going to cut it. Set to potentially trade down from the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Chicago could use one of the assets acquired in that hypothetical trade to acquire Sutton. It also must be noted that Denver’s current receiver plays outside while Claypool is more of a slot guy. The fit isn’t so odd.
Related: Sportsnaut’s NFL salary cap tracker
New England Patriots add Courtland Sutton
Jakobi Meyers is set to hit free agency and doesn’t look like a realistic No. 1 receiving option. In fact, he’s going to be met with a soft market. That suggests what we already likely know. Meyers (804 yards in 2022) has vastly outplayed future projections.
As for what the Patriots need for struggling young quarterback Mac Jones, a big body on the outside would solve a ton of issues. New England simply doesn’t have that at wide receiver right now. As with any team looking to acquire Sutton, his contract could be a detriment. The 27-year-old receiver is set to count $14 million against the cap for an acquiring team. A restructure would obviously have to be in the cards to lower this figure.
Green Bay Packers get more help at wide receiver
Whether it’s Aaron Rodgers (unlikely) or Jordan Love (likely) under center for the Packers next season, they must solve the riddle at wide receiver. Trading away star Davante Adams impacted this offense in a big way last season. With Allen Lazard set to hit free agency, receiver becomes more of a need.
We really do like what the trio of Christian Watkins, Romeo Doubs and Courtland Sutton would bring in Green Bay. That’s especially true if Love is a first-year starter. Watkins and Doubs displayed flashes as rookies. Sutton is just now hitting his prime. This would be a way to build both short term and for the future.
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Dallas Cowboys take a chance on Courtland Sutton
Lats season saw Dallas linked to an injured Odell Beckham Jr. before signing a washed T.Y. Hilton. After losing to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs, Dallas is now being linked to DeAndre Hopkins in trade talks with the Arizona Cardinals. What’s the moral of this story? Isn’t it obvious? Owner Jerry Jones wants to go all in at wide receiver behind CeeDee Lamb.
If the finances work out, this might be Dallas’ best option. Sutton’s frame and ability as a possession receiver would work well with what Lamb does to stretch the field. In this scenario, Michael Gallup plays more out of the slot — creating a true three-headed wide receiver monster for Dak Prescott.