Broncos are sending receiver Jerry Jeudy to the Browns for two draft picks, AP sources say

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos have agreed to send wide receiver and former first-round pick Jerry Jeudy to the Cleveland Browns for a pair of 2024 draft picks, two people with knowledge of the trade told The Associated Press on Saturday.

The people, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the impending deal wasn’t immediately announced by either team, said the Broncos would receive fifth- and sixth-round picks in next month’s NFL draft when the trade becomes official next week.

The Browns are getting a complement for No. 1 receiver Amari Cooper and another major target and deep threat for quarterback Deshaun Watson.

The Broncos will save $13 million in both cash and salary cap space by moving on from Jeudy. The first of the two draft picks they’re receiving is the first pick of the fifth round. That gives Denver eight selections in the April draft.

The Broncos have cleared nearly $50 million in cap space in the last few days after informing quarterback Russell Wilson they would release him when the new league year begins next week.

Potential landing spots for Wilson include the Steelers and Giants. His next team would have to pay him only the veteran’s minimum of $1.2 million because the Broncos are on the hook for the remainder of his $39 million salary in 2024.

The Broncos released All-Pro safety Justin Simmons on Thursday and renegotiated wide receiver Tim Patrick’s contract.

The Broncos used the 15th overall pick in 2020 to draft Jeudy, the highest they ever selected a wide receiver. He never lived up to that billing, in large part because Denver continued to churn through middling quarterbacks.

Jeudy often showed his frustration on the field, especially last season when he caught just two touchdown passes after a strong 2022 campaign in which he set career highs with 972 receiving yards and six TD receptions.

Jeudy has 11 career touchdown catches in four seasons. He is entering the final year of his contract after the Broncos exercised their fifth-year option on him.

The Browns were linked to Jeudy last year but were unable to finalize a deal with the Broncos at the trade deadline.

Cleveland figured to explore adding a top-tier wideout in free agency but was able to acquire a proven one in Jeudy, who like Cooper played at Alabama.

Jeudy’s speed is expected to be an asset for Watson, who likes to throw deep and showed signs of being an elite QB again before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in 2023.

The Browns traded for Elijah Moore last offseason, and he didn’t really pan out until Joe Flacco arrived late in the season and led Cleveland to the playoffs.

Cleveland also signed free agent Marquise Goodwin as a deep threat, but he was slowed by injuries and had little impact during the Browns’ 11-6 season that ended with a playoff loss to Houston.

The Broncos stretched their string of losing seasons to seven with an 8-9 record in coach Sean Payton’s first season in Denver.

The Broncos’ chances of ending their eight-year playoff drought in 2024 seemingly grew slimmer with the decision to move on from Wilson, a separation that carries a whopping $85 million in dead cap charges, forcing the team to jettison veterans such as Jeudy and Simmons, among others.

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