It’s time for John Elway to make a blockbuster move

Sep 27, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Denver Broncos general manager John Elway gestures prior to the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for John Elway to come to the rescue of the Denver Broncos offense, just like the old days. Time to make another season-defining move that only he can make. The Hall-of-Fame-quarterback-turned-award-seeking-NFL-executive is the one person who can supply the struggling Denver offense with what it badly needs, so that side of the ball can carry its weight alongside a Super Bowl-caliber defense.

The NFL trading deadline is Nov. 4. While in-season trades are not commonplace in professional football, there’s nothing preventing Elway and the Broncos from going out and making a bold move that could dramatically re-shape this offense. An additional playmaker is badly needed – immediately – since Denver’s going “all in” in an effort to reach another Super Bowl in what looks to be Peyton Manning’s final season.

That being the case, Elway needs to go out and pull the trigger on a trade that will put Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte in predominately orange. He needs to do it before the Green Bay Packers roll into town on Nov. 1. Forte is a dual threat out of the backfield, leads the NFL in carries and has played the most snaps of any back in the league this season for a reason. He’s the kind of player an offense can lean on. Denver needs that right now just like they did when Elway had Terrell Davis to hand the ball to.

It’s no secret that Chicago is a “seller” right now. Even after a couple of wins, the Bears know they’re dreadful and they’re positioning themselves for the highest draft pick possible. They’ve already traded away defensive starters Jared Allen and Jon Bostic as they trim payroll in their rebuilding effort. Forte is a free agent when the season ends, making him expendable, too. He’s reportedly on the block.

The Broncos have a desperate need at the position. Yes, the offensive line has struggled, and yes, C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman haven’t had a lot of room to run, and yes, the tight ends haven’t exactly been lighting it up. But great running backs can do a lot to help a struggling offensive line, too. The Bears o-line is no better than Denver’s, yet Forte is currently near the top of the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 121.8 per game. We’re talking about the back who set a single-season receiving record for running backs just last season. Forte represents a huge upgrade over what Denver has right now. Struggling o-line or not, Forte will get his. His presence will also help open things up for Manning and Co. in other ways.

As noted, NFL trades are rare. This isn’t baseball. There won’t be a lot of wheeling and dealing as the trade deadline approaches. And while teams that do make trades often times receive draft picks in return, in-season NFL trades are not normally made for untested “prospects” that are multiple years away from making a contribution at the highest level. Instead, like the famous Champ Bailey-for-Clinton Portis trade that brought the Broncos the future Hall of Fame cornerback, the return is normally much more swift. Getting Forte would provide an immediate return – at what could be an immediate cost as well.

Such a move would likely cost the Broncos at least a second or third round draft pick, which would be well worth the investment. Add in salary cap considerations and it might also cost them a player or two, perhaps someone like David Bruton or Shaq Barrett. That’s also worth the investment, since Denver is deep at those (and several other) positions. Remember, we’re in the middle of a season where there is no “Plan B” to speak of. It’s all about 2015. Elway and his front office staff will worry about getting Brock Osweiler help next year when it turns into next year. They can worry about whether or not to ante up and bring Forte (with a new contract) back next season after the Super Bowl parties are over.

Unlike Davis, Forte isn’t likely to end up in Canton, Ohio. Still, for this season alone, he could do a very nice impersonation of TD in the Gary Kubiak offense. Forte might even be a little more versatile than Davis. If the Broncos brass can give Manning weapons similar to what Elway had at his disposal during the last couple years of his Hall of Fame playing career, and the results could once again be Super.

This one’s for Peyton.

Listen to Mark Knudson and Michael Klahr Saturday mornings 8a-10a on Sports Stampede Radio on Mile High Sports AM 1340.

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