The Denver Broncos aggressively strengthened their secondary this offseason, adding cornerback Kyle Fuller as part of a series of huge moves. With so much depth at the positions, other NFL teams reportedly started asking the Broncos about a trade.
Denver came into the regular season loaded at cornerback. Fuller and fellow free-agent signing Ronald Darby would start on the outside with nickel corner Bryce Callahan matched up against slot receivers. But the Broncos also spent the No. 9 pick on Patrick Surtain II, who made his presence felt immediately.
With so much talent at the position, NFL teams took notice. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport shared Sunday that several teams called general manager George Paton and asked about a potential trade for Fuller. In their eyes, he might be expendable with Denver having his replacement ready.
But the Broncos rebuffed all inquiries. In Paton’s mind, trading Fuller didn’t make sense at a position where another player could go down at any moment. Denver expects to be carried by its defense this season and it needs all the talent available to compete for a playoff spot.
It didn’t take long for Paton’s decision to be rewarded. Darby suffered a hamstring injury and landed on the short-term injured reserve before Week 2. While it isn’t expected to be a lengthy absence, it was still a blow for Denver’s secondary.
Fortunately, Surtain II is ready to step in and head coach Vic Fangio doesn’t need to worry about adjusting his game plan to account for a cornerback he doesn’t trust in coverage. Fuller and Surtain can both be trusted in man coverage, allowing the Broncos to send more blitzes without an even greater risk of surrendering a big play.
Darby should return long before the NFL trade deadline on November 2. If he’s back on the field and another club is desperate for a starting corner, Denver could revisit whether or not it wants to move Fuller. But considering his value to the franchise and his relationship with Fangio, a trade seems unlikely.