MILE HIGH MONDAY

Mile High Monday: Trading, tanking and talking rule the NFL at the deadline

Nov 7, 2022, 6:35 AM
Bradley Chubb...
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos had a bye in Week 9. It was good to watch football on Sunday without the stress of watching the Broncos struggle. Let’s hope they make some changes coming out of the bye to look better on offense.

I like when the Broncos get a break. It’s a time to reflect on what’s gone wrong and what they can do differently going forward. With three winnable games coming out of the bye, the Broncos have a chance to turn things around if they can get more “W’s” in the coming month.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

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More Trading Please!

Thanks to the Los Angeles Rams last year, we are seeing more teams make big moves at the trade deadline when they feel they’re in a championship window. In 2021, the Rams traded with the Broncos for outside linebacker Von Miller and they also added wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Adding Miller and OBJ put the Rams over the top, and they won the Super Bowl because of it.

This year, teams like the Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins made moves at the trade deadline to help put their teams over the top. The Bills added pass-catching running back Nyheim Hines, who could also play slot receiver for them in addition to being a relief-valve receiver for quarterback Josh Allen. The Vikings made a rare in-division trade for tight end T.J. Hockenson; after one game with his new team (where he had nine catches), that looks like a great move for their high-powered offense. The Dolphins made the move with the Broncos for Bradley Chubb.

Now, teams have approached the league about moving the trade deadline back. That sort of move could prompt more trading as further in the season we will have a better idea of teams who are still in the playoff hunt and those who should be focusing on the future. The draft is not an exact science, so some teams are opting to use their ability to trade for known veterans as a better practice.

We’ll see if the league moves back the trade deadline next year. I’d like to see that happen because more teams might be inclined to make a move. More transactions, and more teams going for it when they’re close, could lead to better football down the stretch.

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Tank-a-Thon

About this time of year, some teams start to give up. Teams who are losing show signs of thinking of the future rather than focusing on turning things around this season. I believe the Broncos have not yet given up, and they are certainly concentrating on being better now. However, I think the Indianapolis Colts might be tanking for a better draft position.

They’ve benched veteran quarterback Matt Ryan, but instead of going to Super Bowl winning quarterback Nick Foles, the team has instead gone to second-year quarterback Sam Ehlinger. A sixth-round pick (2021) out of Texans, Ehlinger was known as a scrambler and a gamer in college – but by no means did anyone think he was a future starter in the NFL. Ehlinger has started two games for the Colts, and the team has scored 19 points combined in those contests.

Foles may not be the long-term answer, but the Colts can run the ball when star running back Jonathan Taylor is healthy and they can play strong defense. Having Foles out there would have likely given them more punch on offense, even with Taylor missing time with an ankle injury. With Ehlinger out there, the Colts are getting a longer look at him, but there were no signs in college, training camp, or the preseason that Ehlinger could develop into something special.

Nobody can prove teams like the Colts are tanking, but the optics don’t look good. Right now, the Colts would pick somewhere in the top 15 if the draft were today. That’s not close enough to get the type of franchise quarterback the team has been looking for since Andrew Luck retired. By losing more games with Ehlinger under center, the Colts are guaranteeing themselves a better pick which likely will be used on a rookie quarterback in 2023.

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Talk is Cheap

After the trade deadline, it’s always interesting to hear about deals that were talked about but didn’t come to fruition. There is a lot of misinformation spread in the NFL before the trade deadline, and many people try to connect dots that just don’t exist. However, after the trade deadline we learn more of the truth about deals that went down – or could have gone down.

It was reported over the weekend that the Green Bay Packers were very aggressive at the trade deadline even though they didn’t come away with any players. They were in the market for former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool and Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller. When the dust settled on Tuesday, Claypool was dealt to the Chicago Bears and Waller remains in Sin City.

The Packers offered more than the Bears for Claypool, but the Steelers felt Chicago’s second-round pick would be higher than Green Bay. We’ve seen quarterback Aaron Rodgers struggle this year, partly because of a thumb injury on his throwing hand and partly because his receivers are not making plays for him. Rodgers has done plenty of talking to the media about his disconnect with his receivers, so adding a Claypool would’ve been a big boost.

Waller was supposed to be a part of the trade between the Packers and the Raiders that sent wide receiver Davante Adams to Las Vegas. Instead, the Raiders declined, and the two sides had to come up with another deal. At the trade deadline, the Packers went back to the Raiders to see if Waller would be available. They were turned down, and now must win with the players they already have. Waller is a tight end, but he’s primarily a receiving weapon who could have helped the Packers immensely – and they need all the help they can get.

For the teams like the Packers who didn’t make moves at the deadline, we’ll see if that bites them in the backside as the season goes on. The Packers don’t look good right now on offense, and I’m not sure any of the players they could’ve traded for would have changed their current trajectory. However, the need was there to make a move and all they did was talk about it – and talk is cheap.

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DC’s Deadpool

Warner Bros. sent shockwaves around the movie world when it was announced movie director James Gunn was named the new co-CEO of the DC Universe. This means Gunn, widely known as the director of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” gets to play the DC version of Kevin Feige at Marvel Studios. Gunn has recently said his focus will be on ‘moving the stories forward’ in the DC Universe, and he wants to tell the “biggest stories ever.”

With Gunn leading the way for the DCU, many are speculating we may finally get to see a movie about the character Lobo. First introduced in the pages of Omega Men back in 1983, Lobo is the last of his kind who was first a hardened villain but eventually became a mercenary and anti-hero who would regularly fight Superman. Lobo is violent, and he’s incredibly sarcastic – traits that we would later see in the Marvel character Deadpool. I don’t think Deadpool is a clone of Lobo (he’s more like Deathstroke than Lobo), but there are similarities between the characters.

I think under Gunn’s guidance, Lobo would be a hit for audiences the same way that Deadpool has become a household name for movie fans. Lobo loves to fight, drink, swear, and he will take on anyone he’s hired to kill – even at one point hunting down Santa Claus because the Easter Bunny hired him to do so. Yes, Lobo is a ridiculous and over-the-top character, but I believe movie fans would fall in love with him just like comic book fans have. In fact, the godfather of the Marvel Universe – Stan Lee – favored Lobo over any character in DC Comics. I’m excited to see what Gunn does with the DCU, and I certainly hope Lobo is on his ‘to do’ list.

Would you like to see a Lobo movie? Hit me up on social networking and let me know!

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