John Elway, Broncos

Broncos must look much different by season’s end

The competitive phase of the Denver Broncos season ended on Thursday night.

In front of a national audience and a sold-out home crowd, the Broncos went out and promptly got plowed by the Kansas City Chiefs, 30-6. This despite Patrick Mahomes leaving in the early stages of the second quarter due to a dislocated kneecap. When Mahomes left, it was 10-6.Matt Moore and the defense accounted for 20 unanswered points.

Goodnight.

Denver has a few weeks to make some decisions. The trade deadline isn’t until Oct. 29. By that date, any veteran with an expiring deal should be shipped out of team. The two main names to watch are wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and cornerback Chris Harris. Neither is bringing back a return like we saw with Jalen Ramsey, but each should be able to bring back a Day 2 pick.

For the Broncos, a bushel of mid and late-round choices are key. General manager John Elway desperately needs as many lottery tickets as possible to rebuild a team that has fallen apart from the inside out.

Many inside the NFL believe Elway will attempt to keep soldiering towards a playoff spot because it’s in his DNA. Elway was a relentless winner and competitor during his 17 years as a Hall of Fame quarterback. Selling off parts when the season is technically still alive feels like surrender. However, for both Elway and the Broncos, the best thing is to admit the team is going nowhere and start building assets for the future.

Had Denver won on Thursday night, it would have had a realistic path towards the playoffs. Kansas City would have only been one game up on the Broncos in the AFC West, with Mahomes out in the area of a month as he recovers. Instead, the Broncos got blasted, with Moore looking more competent than Joe Flacco. It was a stark reminder of how far Denver has to travel before even approaching being one of the AFC contenders.

By Halloween, Elway needs to be putting a different team on the field. Harris and Sanders should be long gone. Drew Lock should be coming off Injured Reserve and be getting a real chance to play snaps. Flacco, despite his contract running though 2021, needs to be moved on from this offseason. If Flacco is on the field, Denver sin’t winning anything of note.

The Broncos can use these next few weeks and months to build towards 2020. Elway and Co. can’t afford to waste them.

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