4 Moves the Denver Broncos Should Make Before the NFL Trade Deadline

Michael CallahamContributor IIOctober 17, 2011

4 Moves the Denver Broncos Should Make Before the NFL Trade Deadline

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    If ever there was a time to make a move ahead of the NFL trade deadline, that time has come for the Denver Broncos. At 0-2 against the AFC West, and 1-4 overall, it's now or never as Denver finds itself no more than three losses away from postseason elimination. With only 11 games left to play, the Broncos are taking on water and sinking fast.

    Desperate times call for desperate measures.

    And while there's been a great deal of hullabaloo surrounding the Broncos' decision to shop receiver Brandon Lloyd, given the current asking price, it's difficult to imagine what could be gained by making such a move. This is especially true when one considers some of the other moves that could be made, many of which seem to make more sense than what essentially amounts to giving away the team's best wide receiver.

Unload Lloyd?

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    In the final year of his contract, and, apparently not in the Broncos future plans, receiver Brandon Lloyd was placed on the trading block last week, in hopes of getting something in return rather than let him walk at the end of the season for no more than a compensatory draft pick. A number of teams have expressed an interest in Lloyd, which is not surprising given the fact that Broncos' management seem perfectly content on donating Lloyd to the first short-handed club that applies.

    Setting their asking price at a third- to fifth-round draft pick is yet another in a series of odd moves by the Broncos front office. In doing so, they've left little room for negotiation. Unless, of course, they never expected to get more than a sixth- or seventh-rounder for Lloyd to begin with.

    This then begs the question why the Broncos would trade away the best down field threat they have for the same or less than the compensatory pick they stand to receive if they were to simply let him walk.

    Trading Lloyd also sends the wrong message to the team, not to mention the fans. Even if the Broncos have tossed in the proverbial towel, which would be premature to say the least, what does Denver stand to gain by trading an impact player on a team clearly short on impact players?

    Of all the moves the Broncos could and should try to make, Brandon Lloyd is one of, if not the last player who should be on the block. This is especially true, considering how little Denver stands to get in return when compared to what they give up in terms of production on the field right now.

    With a passing offense ranked 27th in the league, the Broncos can ill-afford to loose Lloyd's ability to stretch opposing defenses and keep them honest. In fact, Brandon Lloyd may be the only viable deterrent to stacking the line of scrimmage with eight men in the box. As such, without Lloyd, it will be even more difficult to keep running lanes open for Moreno and McGahee to tote the rock through.

Has the Tebow Era Begun?

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    The quarterback controversy recently ignited in Denver between first round selection Tim Tebow and incumbent veteran, Kyle Orton is the kind of distraction that a 1-4 football team does not need.

    As counterintuitive to success as such controversies tend to be, it's a natural reaction when you have a starter in a slump and a first-round prospect chomping at the bit on the sideline.

    In fact, it happens almost every time, the only exception being on those rare occasions when cooler heads prevail.

    Presumably, the Broncos would have preferred to bring Tebow along slowly, keeping the pressure off of the rookie by playing him behind an established veteran. Given Orton's recent struggles, though, the time may have come for the Broncos to find out, one way or another, just exactly what they have in Tebow.

    Despite his struggles of late, Orton's value on the open market should still be fairly high, considering his resume. A team desperate for a quarterback might be willing to give up quite a bit for the veteran gunslinger who's shown that he can move the chains if you surround him with enough talent.

    If Tebow is the quarterback of the future, perhaps the Broncos should usher in the Tebow era slightly ahead of schedule and take advantage of the value Kyle Orton represents on the open market. At the very least, it would free them from the considerable distraction such controversies typically represent.

Time for Broncos to Let Go

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    At least coming into this season, it had been Denver's defense, not their offense that had been their biggest barrier to success. As productive as the Broncos' offense has been in recent years, the defense had made getting shredded on a weekly basis by anyone and everyone they line up against their trademark. This year is no different except for the fact that the offense has actually taken a step backward, narrowing the gap between the two units, and has taken some of the negative attention away from the perennially porous Broncos' defense.

    Currently ranked 25, they're giving up an average of over 300 yards per game and have given no indication whatsoever of turning the corner anytime soon.

    What seasoned veterans Brian Dawkins and Champ Bailey bring to the table in terms of experience and leadership cannot be understated. It has become clear, though, that the Broncos need to get younger on the defensive side of the football, especially at defensive back.

    While long past their respective primes, both players are still productive and healthy. Either player could make valuable additions to a team seeking veteran depth in the secondary. Given their ages, neither Bailey nor Dawkins should be in the Broncos long-term plans. As well, seeing that the Broncos defense can't get too much worse than it is, perhaps it's time for Denver to look to the future rather than get caught up in the sentimentality of the past.

Is Dumervil Done in Denver?

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    Based solely in terms of production, one would think it would be Elvis Dumervil on the trading block rather than Lloyd. So far this season Dumervil has recorded just four tackles and no sacks in three games. And while potential trading partners might be difficult to come by given the circumstances, the former All-Pro defensive end may still have some value on the open market for a team that can afford the luxury of gambling on Dumervil's return to prominence.

    Dumervil has struggled to comeback to form after suffering a torn pectoral muscle during practice just prior to the start of 2010 NFL season. Considering the current lack of production from that position, there doesn't seem to be too much to lose in trading the pass-rushing specialist while he still may have some perceived value.