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Broncos' Sean Payton on Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy rumors: 'We're not trading those two players'

Head coach Sean Payton is still newly arrived in Denver, and he has no intentions of bidding farewell to a couple of mainstays at wide receiver.

Speaking to NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero on Sunday at the Annual League Meeting, Payton provided a point-blank response to the swirling trade rumors around Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy.

"I see and read just like everyone else does," Payton said. "Then occasionally, when someone really crowds the plate, I throw a fastball right at their chin, and they back up, and they're like, 'Alright.' And so I haven't thrown any fastballs lately, but we're not trading those two players.

"When people call and the phone rings like it does this time of year, (general manager) George Paton's job is to pick it up and say, 'Hey. Tell you what, we're not.' And so, we've received calls, you bet. Those are two good football players. But we're in the business of gathering talent right now. Why do people call? Because they know we're void of draft picks and that we might, because there was some discussions a year ago, I think, regarding Courtland. But we like the current group that we're working with."

With Sutton still just 27 and Jeudy set to turn 24 ahead of his fourth season in Denver, either wideout would go a long way in replenishing the draft picks swapped to bring Russell Wilson to Colorado, but the value is still higher with them catching passes from him.

The two players were wide receivers 1A and 1B for Denver in 2022, with Jeudy leading the team in receptions (67), yards (972) and touchdowns (six). Sutton tied for second on the club with two receiving TDs and was alone in second with 64 receptions for 829 yards.

The player lagging far behind with the third-most catches was tight end Greg Dulcich (33), and Kendall Hinton was the only other WR with double-digit catches (24).

Either one leaving would take away roughly a quarter of Denver's 3,592 team passing yards from last season.

That won't fly for a team and new head coach counting on Wilson to have a resurgence after flopping in his first year as a Bronco.

"This league will do that to us sometimes," Payton said about the QB's down year. "It will humble us quickly. Generally speaking, if it's humbling the quarterback, there are a lot of dirty hands.

"Back to the losing program, five wins. You can look at every element and say, man, here are some of the reasons why this happened. Unfortunately, the quarterback and the head coach generally are at the forefront of the firing line. Russ knows that. He understands that.

"So, I see someone who is still young. I see someone who, we played against them, not only in the regular season, but in the postseason a number of times. Seattle became kind of this challenge for us. I think the important thing will be not just Russell Wilson, it's every other element of the building. How we prepare. How we practice. The training room. The weight room. All these other pieces will be evaluated just as closely as Russell Wilson will be evaluated. And ultimately you want to paint the right picture for that player, and I think we can do that."

The offseason is still young. Payton is still just beginning his brush strokes on the portrait that is to become his inaugural season in Denver, and there appears to be special spaces reserved on the canvas for Wilson's top two wideouts.

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