Denver Broncos players, executives who were winners and losers of NFL trade deadline

Oct 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; View of the hemet stickers and nameplate worn by Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 NFL trade deadline has officially passed and was not as active as many anticipated, yet the outlook of the Denver Broncos has been significantly changed.

There were notable changes across the league starting with Von Miller heading to Los Angeles to play for the Rams for 2022 second and third-round NFL Draft picks.

Additionally, Kary Vincent Jr. was sent to Philidephia for a 6th-rounder right before the 2 p.m. Tuesday deadline. The week prior the Broncos flipped late-round picks in future seasons to acquire linebackers Kenny Young and Stephen Weatherly.

Now that some dust has settled, we can assess the deals that were and non-deals to identify the biggest winners and losers of the 2021 NFL trade deadline for the Broncos.

Denver’s trade deadline winners

The deadline brought change many in Broncos Country called for. Here are the winners from the deadline.

George Paton

The Broncos are 4-4 and remain in the hunt for a playoff spot. However, the ceiling for this season is lower than they hoped because an elite quarterback is not on this roster. Getting the value George Paton did for an older player on the last year of his contract is a smart move as he looks to the future.

Denver now has 12 total selections in the 2022 draft, as Paton can go all-in on a rebuild.

Paton is a scout at heart and believes in a draft and development process. Moving on from Miller and Vincent netted him significant draft capital he can use to acquire a quarterback next offseason.

Whether it is a reload or retool, having the flexibility to attack the draft or trade market allows the Broncos to be aggressive in finding their answer at the game’s most important position.

Von Miller 

Something can be said about the emotional toll moving midseason takes on a player. There is no doubt Miller was the face of the Broncos and had significant ties to the organization.

But, from a pure football sense Miller made out well. He goes from a team with a low ceiling to a legitimate Super Bowl contender overnight.

Additionally, the Rams attacking style of defense should allow Miller to go one-on-one more often than in any time since 2018 (Bradley Chubb’s rookie season). All in time for Miller to cash in this offseason with one last big contract.

Vic Fangio

The writing seems to be on the wall for Vic Fangio’s time as the Broncos head coach. However, as the beloved ESPN College Gameday Host Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friends.”

Fangio still has a very talented roster with only Miller and Vincent being dealt.

A week prior Fangio’s defense added former Rams Young at inside linebacker and former Minnesota Viking Weatherly on the edge. Both showed to be impact players in their first outing of the season against the Washington Football Team.

If the third-year boss wants to keep his job he will need to turn this season around quickly and the lack of other deals keeps that hope alive.

Kary Vincent Jr.

The former LSU standout now gets a chance to play. Vincent sat out each of Denver’s first eight games. His playing time would not look to increase with several members of the Broncos secondary scheduled to return from injured reserve.

Going to the Eagles should allow the 22-year old opportunities to get onto the field early and often.

Broncos who lost the most following the 2021 trade deadline

Not all deadline deals create good feelings all around. For several Broncos, the deadline could have negatively impacted their season and potentially several years ahead.

Von Miller

On the field, Miller will benefit from playing on a much better team. However, Miller had become such an intricate part of the entire organization that must hit him like a ton of bricks. His emotional goodbye to the city and its fans was a clear view into how much Miller wanted to end his career as a Denver Bronco.

Kyle Fuller

Kyle Fuller was one of the prime offseason additions for the Broncos. After only a few weeks into the season, he has been benched. Speculation ran throughout media circles about his availability, indicating the former Chicago Bear could be on the move again soon.

However, the Broncos kept the veteran cornerback to much chagrin to the fan base. Potentially Fuller gets another opportunity with Bryce Callahan’s season likely over, but even that remains doubtful. Fuller could have used a change of scenery and the Broncos could have used any draft capital it could get in return for his services.

Caden Sterns

Kareem Jackson’s name flashed quickly as a potential trade target for many clubs. The Broncos’ safety has played well this season and has a reasonable contract for a contender to absorb if they acquired him. However, the team held on to Jackson for the remainder of this season.

The fifth-round selection of the 2021 draft has been phenomenal in limited playing time. A trade of Jackson would have given Sterns much-needed snaps. Additionally, moving on from Jackson would have allowed Paton to evaluate No. 30’s long-term outlook heading into the offseason.

With Jackson on the field, Sterns’ growth opportunities are limited this season. The lack of tape and uncertainty about Sterns’ future could motivate Paton to bring in more competition for the safety position in 2022.

Broncos Country

With no quarterback taking the mantle as the face of the franchise, Von Miller was it. His joyous love for the game coupled with his phenomenal skillset created a player that was easy to root for.

Fans saw Miller’s growth over the years from a young man headed down the wrong path to a new father who seemed to have put it all together. That connection made the gravity of a Miller deal even heavier for fans.

The last remaining connection to the vaunted Super Bowl 50 defense, the nostalgia of the last great Broncos team left when No. 58 walked out of Dove Valley one last time.

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