Trading up for a QB is a ‘realistic’ option for the Broncos

Three days after NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport indicated the Denver Broncos were more likely to start Jarrett Stidham than trade up for a quarterback in the 2024 NFL draft, coach Sean Payton shot back at that notion.

“I think that’s realistic,” Payton said at the NFL’s owners meetings in Orlando on Monday when asked by Rapoport about the possibility of moving up for a QB. “I think it’s realistic. I know your report suggested otherwise, but it’s realistic.”

Broncos general manager George Paton had a more measured answer when asked about the possibility of trading up.

“If there’s a player that you love … you do whatever it takes to go get him,” Paton said, via Andrew Mason of “But you don’t want to panic. There’s going to be a really good player at 12. And unless we have a total consensus love for another player, we just stay at 12 or we move back.”

Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune was close to Payton during the coach’s time with the New Orleans Saints. Duncan tweeted this on Monday: “If Sean Payton falls in love with a QB, he will go get him. Or die trying. Trust that.”

The top three quarterbacks in this year’s class — Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels — are expected to go off the board within the first three picks. So if a team is desperate to pick J.J. McCarthy, they might have to trade up to the fourth overall pick to make sure they land him.

The Arizona Cardinals currently hold pick No. 4, and general manager Monti Ossenfort has made it known that they are open to trade talks.

“I think it’s realistic,” Payton said of the possibility of trading up. “What’s hard to predict, though, is what’s on the receiving end. I think it’s good to be Monti today at Arizona. So it’s hard to predict what that cost is and yet, I certainly wouldn’t say it’s unrealistic and we’ll pay close attention to it.”

Moving up from No. 12 — where the Broncos currently sit — to No. 4 would be costly. Three years ago, the San Francisco 49ers gave up three first-round picks (2021, 2022, 2023) and a third-round pick (2022) to move from No. 12 to No. 3 to select QB Trey Lance.

That trade didn’t work out for the 49ers, but it might give a rough estimate of how much it would cost Denver to move up for a QB. The great cost associated with such a trade would make it a big risk, so if the Broncos do it, they have to get it right.

Our most recent seven-round mock draft for Denver has the Broncos trading up to No. 4 to select McCarthy. It would be a risky move, but fans in Denver know how important it is to have a franchise QB in the NFL. If Payton is convinced McCarthy (or any other QB) is the guy, the Broncos should move up to make sure they get him during the draft.

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Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire