The NFL's trade deadline came and went today at 2 p.m. All quiet on the Rocky Mountain front.
Is it better to stand pat at the deadline and head down the stretch with your own guys, or pick up the telephone and try to make a move that will can put a team over the top?
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1719434-get-si-subscription-with-... Before we explore that, it's important to note that the Broncos did make a move ahead of the deadline--albeit, a week in advance. A day after their 18-point victory over the Houston Texans on Monday night, Denver sent a fifth-rounder to the New England Patriots for tight end A.J. Derby, who has yet to record a catch in the regular season. After sitting out Week 8 as an inactive, Derby is expected to go this week against the Oakland Raiders.
To some extent, the move to deal for Derby is an indictment of the Broncos' production, or lack thereof, at the tight end position. Despite missing three games, the leading receiver at tight end is still Virgil Green, whose 14 catches for 140 yards is more production than Jeff Heuerman and John Phillips combined.
What Derby brings to the position is a lot of athleticism. Like Julius Thomas before him, Derby won't be mistaken for a bulldozer, but he can be expected to stretch the field in ways the three other tight ends cannot. He's comfortable out of the flex and even the outside, and should hopefully draw some attention away from Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
Of course, the Broncos did try this last year when they brought in Vernon Davis. Davis caught a few passes off of the arm of Brock Osweiler late in the season, but he never quite fit into Peyton Manning's offense, and some very untimely drops caused him to fall out of favor in Denver.
It's hard to call any roster move a "bad decision" when the end result is a Super Bowl victory, but it's hard to make the case that Davis was an essential part of that run. In hindsight, it might be better to have kept a couple late-round draft picks. Denver's current backfield of Trevor Siemian, Andy Janovich, and Devontae Booker were all selected on the third day of the draft.
So what about this year? We know there are a couple of holes, despite a solid 6-2 record. The offensive line has played inconsistently at best, and they have amassed 10 holding penalties in just the last three games.
But even if they did grab either of those players, that might have caused more trouble up front. It's hard to just tell him to grab some pine for the rest of the season when he alone is not the issue.
Furthermore, offensive line success is heavily contingent on continuity. Letting a line with four new starters this year (including Schofield's move to guard) get more time together may be a better solution than adding a new face like Thomas or Staley, who don't even play in the zone-blocking scheme.
The one position where a trade may have made sense was at running back. When Devontae Booker briefly left the game on Sunday with a shoulder injury, it was like looking into the abyss. With C.J. Anderson gone until Week 17 at least, the Broncos have next to no experience behind Booker. Kapri Bibbs may prove serviceable, but we certainly haven't seen it yet.
It might have been worth it for the Broncos to send a pick over to the Dallas Cowboys for Darren McFadden. McFadden seems to be ready to return from iPhone-induced injury, but Dallas simply doesn't need him when they already have a loaded backfield with Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris, despite the fact that he surpassed 1,000 yards for them last year.
But it was not to be. It's possible they sent out a feeler to the Jones boys and the asking price was too steep, but we'll likely never know.
There's something to be said for standing pat, however. It gives the guys on the current roster a vote of confidence. It says that the team was carefully constructed, player by player, and the 6-2 record is a reflection of that.
The Broncos have their 53 guys and they're ready to bring them into the Black Hole. No doubt about it.
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Will Keys is an Editor for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.