The Denver Broncos have a choice to make on two of their stars from the 2018 NFL draft class.
Both fifth-overall pick, Bradley Chubb, and 40th-overall pick, Courtland Sutton, are nearing a crossroads with their current contract, forcing Denver to make a decision on them soon. By May 3, the Broncos will have to make a decision on whether or not to pick up Chubb’s fifth-year option, and they’ll want to get an extension done with Sutton sooner rather than later.
How they tackle those contracts will speak volumes regarding the futures of Sutton and Chubb with this team.
Exercising his fifth-year option would give Chubb a big bump in his salary. As of now, Chubb would make north of $4.35 million in 2021, but if the option is exercised his salary would increase to upwards of $13 million 2022.
Picking up Chubb’s option should be a no-brainer. The depth regarding pass rushers on the Broncos’ roster is thin and retaining Chubb should be at the frnt of the front office’s mind.
With that, though, comes the uncertainty of Von Miller’s future. It would be difficult to fathom a situation where the Broncos washed their hands clean of two of their best defensive weapons.
The cap space the Broncos currently have is about $30 million which Chubb’s option would take a good chunk out of. However, Denver had a similar situation occur with Garrett Bolles just a season ago and they chose not to exercise his 5th-year option, and instead gave him a contract extension of their own creation. In doing so, they came to terms that were more beneficial to the team’s bottom line and to Bolles in the long run, evidence that locking up a defensive stalwart on your own terms may be the best way to go.
Meanwhile, Sutton is entering his last contractual season with the Broncos in 2021.
Outside of injury, you would be hard-pressed to say that he has been anything but be productive for this team. How Sutton bounces back from the aforementioned injury this year will be pivotal in determining his future value.
Wide receiver is not an immediate need for this team as it is currently fashioned, and with the addition of Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler last season, they might be able to move on from Sutton to remain young and cheap at the position, though that desire has never been indicated.
George Paton’s salary cap management in regard to Sutton and Chubb will have long-lasting impacts on the team. When teams aren’t able to manage the cap well, we have seen it become an unwieldy mess. That was especially true this year, when the salary cap decreased by $15.7 million exacerbating those complications, though Paton’s life should be easier next year when the cap gets closer to normal.
I expect both members of the 2020 class to be in orange and blue for the immediate future and would not be surprised if they were here for much longer. The Broncos should exercise Chubb’s 5th-year option but if they do not, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an exit is imminent.