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Disgruntled $60 Million Star Continues Holdout, Trade Incoming?

Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton has continued his holdout into OTA's and could seek a trade if Denver doesn't pay up.
Courtland Sutton Holdout

Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton is continuing his holdout into OTA’s. The former second-round pick had a strong first season under Sean Payton, recording 59 receptions for 772 yards and 10 touchdowns on 90 receptions. The SMU product was one of the few bright spots on the Broncos offense and established himself as the top target in this passing attack. With Jerry Jeudy already gone, the former Pro Bowler believes he deserves a new deal that better reflects his on-field value.

Sutton is entering the final year of his four-year, $60 million deal. Rather than risk injury and potentially lose out on his long-term financial stability, the wide receiver is staying on the sidelines while chasing an extension. The receiver market has exploded in recent seasons, and Sutton’s deal now looks like one of the most team-friendly in the league. If the Broncos aren’t willing to pay up and end the Courtland Sutton holdout, some other team should be happy to trade for him.

Courtland Sutton Continues Holdout, Could Seek Trade

It should be interesting to see how Denver approaches the Courtland Sutton holdout. On the one hand, the wide receiver is the only proven set of hands in the passing attack. Josh Reynolds is a career journeyman, the jury is still out on Marvin Mims, and Tim Patrick has missed the past two seasons due to injury. With rookie quarterback Bo Nix set to start, Sean Payton must ensure the Oregon product has at least one reliable target in the passing game. 2023 first-overall pick Bryce Young had to do it all on his own, and look how that worked out.

On the other hand, the Broncos are embracing a rebuild. Now entering his age-29 season, Sutton still has some gas in his tank but might slow down before this team is ready to compete. If Denver can get a good draft pick for his services, they might prefer to trade Courtland Sutton rather than end his holdout. If that happens, these five teams make the most sense as potential suitors.

Possible Destinations

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers desperately want another wide receiver. After sending Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh aggressively tried to acquire DK Metcalf, Brandon Aiyuk, and even Sutton himself. While those talks have yet to result in a meaningful signing, the regular season is still a ways away. The Courtland Sutton holdout isn’t ending any time soon, and Denver might prefer to trade him after June 1st. If they do that, Sutton’s dead cap drops from $5.8 million to $3.8 million.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have a great tight end in Mark Andrews and a promising separator in Zay Flowers. What this passing attack lacks, however, is a player who can win with size and strength on the outside. Sutton has made a career out of bodying smaller defensive backs, and Baltimore could use a player with that skill set. Courtland Sutton has yet to play with an elite quarterback, and he’d probably love if his holdout ends with an opportunity to catch passes from the reigning MVP.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Broncos won’t want to trade Courtland Sutton to a division rival, but the Chargers are desperate enough to make the best offer to end the holdout. After parting ways with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, Los Angeles is desperate for anyone who can catch the ball. While Ladd McConkey has some promise, this team needs more talent to keep up with the Kansas City Chiefs. Sutton is a natural fit for the Mike Williams role and should immediately develop chemistry with franchise quarterback Justin Herbert.

New England Patriots

The Patriots surrounded rookie quarterback Drake Maye with a surplus of adequate depth receivers, but no true star. While Ja’Lynn Polk and Javon Baker offer the promise of youth, this team needs a proven winner on the outside. Courtland Sutton can be the target hog a young quarterback needs, and the Patriots have the cap space to give the wide receiver whatever contract it requires to end his holdout.

Carolina Panthers

If everything goes right, the Panthers won’t need another veteran wide receiver. However, if Diontae Johnson struggles to develop chemistry with Bryce Young, or if age catches up to Adam Thielen, or if Xavier Legette struggles to adjust to the NFL, the Panthers are in trouble. There is no such thing as a 100% safe bet in the NFL, but Courtland Sutton will provide some much-needed stability for this high-risk, high-reward depth chart.

Main Photo: Jamie Germano – USA Today Sports


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