6 Ideal Trade Scenarios for Denver Broncos to Pursue This Offseason
Like any offseason in the National Football League, speculating on how each team is going to attempt to improve itself and build a winner is always very intriguing.
Though free agency and the NFL draft are the more popular ways of obtaining new talent, the right trade can be the best way to do so.
There are a few options for the Broncos to consider this offseason in regards to trading with other teams.
Here is a look at six directions in which John Elway and the organization will go in.
Trade Fourth-Round Pick (127th Overall) to Cincinnati for LB Rey Maualuga
This deal would be contingent on Cincinnati re-signing linebacker Vincent Rey, who is scheduled to become a restricted free agent this offseason.
Rey actually outperformed Rey Maualuga last season as the former USC Trojan nursed an injury. Maualuga could use a change of scenery, and the Broncos could use a solid middle linebacker.
During his five-year career, Maualuga has averaged nearly 85 tackles per season. He is an aggressive, hard-hitting linebacker who would bring a certain nastiness to the Denver defense.
The Broncos have tried multiple players at middle linebacker in recent years, but they haven't really had consistent play from the position since Al Wilson was the leader of the defense.
Maualuga will be entering the final year of a two-year deal he signed last March, so the Broncos could allow him to hit the open market if the trade didn't work out.
If Maualuga came in and brought to Denver the skills that made him a first-round draft pick in 2009, the Broncos would likely be happy to give him a nice new contract.
Trade Sixth-Round Pick (191st Overall) to New Orleans for WR Nick Toon
A deal like this would be the equivalent of taking a flier in your fantasy football draft. You wouldn't be giving up much for what could be a very fruitful return.
Nick Toon, son of New York Jets legendary wide receiver Al Toon, seems to be toiling away in New Orleans, where he is buried on the depth chart.
In his first two seasons in the NFL, Toon has caught just four passes. Though New Orleans runs a very pass-happy offense, they favor throwing the ball to the tight end and running back positions just as much as the wide receivers.
If the Saints felt like a late-round pick was fair value, Toon could get a new start in Denver. He is a very good route-runner with solid hands. He can also be counted on as a blocker. He has plenty of untapped potential after catching 171 passes and 18 touchdowns in college.
Trade Ronnie Hillman to Cleveland for Fourth-Round Pick
When the 2013 season started, Ronnie Hillman sat atop the team's depth chart at running back. But a fumbling problem would soon have him benched—permanently.
The Broncos have Montee Ball and C.J. Anderson on the roster. If they are able to re-sign Knowshon Moreno, there isn't much of a future in Denver for Hillman.
The Browns have two fourth-round picks in the upcoming NFL draft. If the Broncos were able to get the first of those (102nd overall), they'd probably be thrilled.
However, if the Broncos wanted to get another player from Cleveland in exchange for Hillman, the Browns might be able to help in that regard too.
Alternate Trade Option
If there is one thing the Browns do have, it's a good collection of young wide receivers. Josh Gordon is quickly turning into one of the top young players in the league.
Travis Benjamin is a player they may be willing to part with. He could bring a lot of excitement to Denver.
Benjamin was selected in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. He has yet to make an impact as a wide receiver in the NFL, but much of that can be attributed to Cleveland's offensive woes.
But Benjamin has shown that he can return punts and kicks. He has averaged 16.4 yards per punt return while bringing back two for a touchdown.
If the Broncos made a deal to trade Hillman for Benjamin straight across, it may allow them to release Trindon Holliday, who has displayed some serious issues with ball security.
Trade Fifth-Round Pick (159th Overall) to Jacksonville for DE Jason Babin
The Broncos should send out feelers to Jacksonville to see if they'd be interested in dealing veteran defensive end Jason Babin, but they shouldn't break the bank to obtain him. A fifth-round draft pick should be the most Denver is willing to give up.
Jacksonville is a team that is building for their future, so it might make sense to stockpile draft choices. Babin is a piece they could move.
Babin has played 10 seasons in the league for six different franchises, but he can still get after the quarterback. Last season, he had 7.5 sacks for the Jaguars.
The Broncos could use all of the extra pass-rushers they can get, especially with Robert Ayers set to become an unrestricted free agent.
Babin would probably not be someone Denver could count on to play significant snaps each week, but he could be a great situational player.
Trade Fifth-Round Pick (159th Overall) to Dallas for WR Dwayne Harris
The thought process here would be along the same lines as the proposed trade for Travis Benjamin of Cleveland. Like Benjamin, Dwayne Harris is also turning into one of the league's premier returners.
Harris has returned two punts for touchdowns in his career, and in 2013, he averaged 30.6 yards per kick return. Aside from that, he can be a tremendous asset in the passing game.
In his four-year college career at East Carolina, Harris caught 268 passes for 3,001 yards and 20 touchdowns.
If Denver isn't able to re-sign Eric Decker, Harris could be an affordable option to consider.
Trade Tackle Chris Clark and Conditional Pick to Pittsburgh for Troy Polamalu
OK, so this one may not be in the cards, but it's fun to speculate.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team that needs to gain more youth, and though Troy Polamalu is one of the better safeties to ever play the game, it might be a good idea to get something for him if they can.
Last season, the Pittsburgh offensive line left a lot to be desired. According to NFL.com, the Steelers allowed 43 sacks and 66 hits on the quarterback. Those numbers likely would have been higher if Ben Roethlisberger wasn't so good at evading the pass rush.
For Denver, tackle Chris Clark filled in quite well when Ryan Clady went down with a season-ending injury in Week 2. But Clady will be back next year, and though it may be risky for Denver to trade away a proven commodity in Clark, they may be able to get something they really need in return.
If it wasn't evident by their performance in the Super Bowl, Denver needs to work on getting more physical in the offseason. Polamalu is one of the most physical players in the league.
Pittsburgh would likely ask Denver to hand over at least one draft pick along with Clark in a deal like this, but Denver shouldn't give much more. Polamalu will be 33 years old in April.
Denver would need to pay for what they would get, not what Polamalu has done in the past.