John Elway planted a “FOR SALE” sign in the Denver Broncos’ No. 5 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. The buyers will begin to call, if they haven’t already. And let’s not kid ourselves. They have.
Here are six teams that could and, perhaps, should trade into the the Broncos’ spot at fifth overall.
Just to be clear, the unanimous targets for these teams would be quarterbacks Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield (with the assumption that Josh Allen and Sam Darnold are off the board). Frankly, it just doesn’t make sense to trade to the No. 5 spot if you’re not taking a quarterback.
The deal: Bills give up No. 12 and next year’s first-rounder.
There are two other AFC East teams on this list. The Jets would be on the list, but they already traded up. The Bills might come to fear the Dolphins or Patriot have interest in a quarterback Buffalo likes. If that happened, the Bills may have to box out their AFC rivals by moving up.
While the Patriots get attention for their draft assets, the Bills have more.
Buffalo is sniffing around Josh Allen, in the event he doesn’t go to the Cleveland Browns at No. 1 overall. If not Allen, then who: Rosen or Mayfield? Mayfield would be a fun fit for Buffalo. It’s a smaller city where Mayfield would become king, not unlike Norman. But he wouldn’t have the same distractions that he might have in a place like Miami.
The deal: Miami’s first- and second-rounders (No. 11 and No. 42).
The Miami Dolphins are members of the quarterback-needy AFC East. And, yes, Bill Belichick is sniffing down the Bills and Dolphins’ neck with reported interest in Mayfield and Rosen, who are both players that might slide in the draft.
If the Dolphins are fed up with Ryan Tannehill, Rosen makes the most sense for a Dolphins team which tried and failed to convert Tannehill from the spread system. They won’t bother with that headache again in Mayfield. They’ll get a pro-ready passer, and perhaps the best one in the draft in Rosen.
The deal: Arizona gives up their 2018 and 2019 first-round picks (No. 15 overall this year)
Rosen would have to be the target. Sam Bradford is a bridge quarterback. But how many games will he last into the season before he gets hurt? Then the Cardinals will move on to Mike Glennon, who should have a nice career as a backup. But he’s nothing special. Rosen, on the other hand, is an outstanding player. He’d be worth cashing out major assets. If Arizona can answer his, “why,” questions, then they’ll be just fine.
The deal: Nos. 23, 31 and 43 in this year’s draft.
Belichick could go all-in to get Tom Brady’s successor, a player who is ready right now. The question is whether Belichick likes Mayfield or Rosen. They both have their warts. Would Belichick have the patience to deal with Mayfield, who has character concerns with his extracurriculars? Or would Belichick have the patience to deal with a smart-ass like Rosen who can be challenging to coach for many of the same reasons as Brady?
It’s got to be Rosen. Mayfield’s size might prevent some game-planning creativity. As mentioned, he’s a spread quarterback who presents a risk of not panning out as he would require development. Rosen is a pro-style, prototypical passer, who wouldn’t present any obstacles in terms of game-plan. And the parallels between Rosen and Brady are a good thing. Brady and Belichick functioned just fine for 18 years — until this recent drama.
The offer: Nos. 13 and 44
With Alex Smith, the Redskins don’t have to rush into anything. Their deal is the least exciting package of the bunch, but that’s because they can afford to test the market without as much urgency as some of these other teams. But perhaps their package would be enough to yield the pick and grab Mayfield, who would be a fun fit for Jay Gruden’s offense. He could develop behind Smith.
The offer: The Chargers’ 2018 and 2019 first-rounders (No. 17 this year)
Sorry, Philip Rivers.
Rivers is 36-years-old, and already teased potential retirement. Anytime that happens (and it’s not Le’Veon Bell in the playoffs), it’s time to start lining up the player’s replacement. So while the Chargers may not be helping Rivers win now, they’ll be lining themselves up for future success. And in a weird way, Rivers might be the perfect mentor or Mayfield. They’re both fiery competitors, but Rivers has found a way to channel his competitive spirit in a more productive fashion.