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Sean Payton: 'Realistic' for Broncos to trade up from No. 12 pick for quarterback

The Denver Broncos sit at No. 12 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, a spot that might be too late to snag a franchise quarterback if they all get gobbled up early.

Following the Russell Wilson release, Denver currently has Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci as the lone quarterbacks on the roster. They're in line to draft a signal-caller. The question is who and when.

Coach Sean Payton said Monday at the NFL's Annual League Meeting that he views trading up in the draft as a "realistic" option.

Payton noted that the club will look at every option, but at this point, it is impossible to know how much it would cost to get into the top five. He noted that the Arizona Cardinals at No. 4 could be a hot trade destination as we get closer to the draft.

"It's good to be (Cardinals general manager) Monti (Ossenfort) right now," Payton said.

The Minnesota Vikings, who sit one spot ahead of the Broncos and also need a QB, already maneuvered for a second 2024 first-round pick. To leap higher, Denver might need to create some waves of its own.

The question is how much Payton is willing to mortgage the future to get a rookie QB in 2024.

For now, Stidham is the potential starter, but Payton declined to say he was in the top position for the job.

"He's definitely competing to be the starter," he said. "I don't think we have a term 'driver's seat' really. But he is going to compete for that position. I know he's anxious and excited to do that, and I'm sure there will be other candidates that will be competing with him."

Stidham started two games last season, flashing some potential, but not enough for the Broncos to eschew adding a young playmaker if an opportunity presented itself.

Payton reiterated that moving on from Wilson, despite the massive cap hit, was the best thing for the franchise's future.

"We felt it was in the best interest of our team," Payton explained. "Now as we go forward, obviously we are in the middle of free agency, we're preparing for the draft. We'll look at both of those avenues to not only address quarterback but to fill other spots on the team. I think the draft is one element, and we're kind of in that phase now, and yet there's still a few possibilities relative to guys who are currently in this league or have played in this league. I think that we've got a pretty good plan in place. We understand what we're doing and we're going to be smart about it."

Now, the question is how Denver goes about executing that plan and whether it involves a leap up the draft board for a QB.

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