The Broncos staved off immediate staff changes by pounding the Cardinals in Arizona on Thursday night, but the club remains at a difficult crossroads with a potential rebuild ahead, and other NFL teams have begun reaching out about acquiring some of their veteran talent.
Denver (3-4) was coming off a four-game tailspin before Thursday's win, Case Keenum has struggled at quarterback, head coach Vance Joseph is coaching for his future and the Broncos' next five games are all against potential/likely playoff teams (the Chiefs, Texans, Steelers, Chargers and Bengals). John Elway has made clear the magnitude of the situation, and the Broncos do not appear to be close to contending in the AFC West.
Given all of that, rival executives are poring over Denver's roster and eyeing up possible trades ahead of the deadline (which comes a week from Tuesday). Even before the season began, there were strong rumblings of the Broncos trading a veteran receiver like Emmanuel Sanders, 31, or Demaryius Thomas, 30, and league sources said several teams have interest in Sanders, who is much more productive and has a much lower contract; his trade value is significantly higher.
Teams have also been exploring the availability of Denver's corners, with Bradley Roby a pending free agent, although, at age 26, someone young enough to possibly fit into the Broncos' future even with a rebuild in order. Corner Chris Harris is 29 and signed to a team-friendly deal through 2019; he is being coveted by other teams, league sources said.
Given the uphill climb facing this team, and Keenum's age (30) and limited prior success as a permanent starter (save for an outstanding run with the Vikings in 2017), sources continue to indicate the Broncos intend to look at young quarterback Chad Kelly at some point in the second half of the season, needing to assess that position prior to the 2019 draft, and it's difficult to see the team holding on to all of these veteran players given the tenor of their season.
Elway stands in a position to recoup a bevy of draft picks to kick-start a reboot if he chooses to go that route, and he will have no shortage of teams calling him between now and the deadline.