The Denver Broncos trade away Bradley Chubb to a Miami Dolphins team making a playoff push. Here’s how each team comes out of the trade as the dust settles.
A year before tight end T.J. Hockenson was drafted with the No. 8 overall pick, elite NC State edge rusher Bradley Chubb was taken with the No. 5 pick. Famously, Von Miller celebrated that moment, reveling in the Broncos leveling up their defense and pairing Miller with a promising pass rush threat on the opposite end.
By November 2022, a year after Miller himself was shipped out of Denver, both Hockenson and Chubb have been traded away. Hockenson now suits up for the Minnesota Vikings, and Chubb has been sent down to Miami to play with the Dolphins.
NFL insiders such as Adam Schefter and Mike Garafolo have repeatedly stated that if a Bronco would be dealt, it would be Chubb.
“Bradley Chubb to me, the sense I’m getting…. he’s the most likely Bronco to get dealt right now, but whoever they’re talking to is going to have to up the offer,” Garafolo said on Monday.
However, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio shared a contradictory narrative, saying that talk around Chubb had quieted recently. Noting that the Rams and Dolphins seemed to be the two most interested parties, Florio listed a few reasons why the trade may not happen, including what it means for Nathaniel Hackett.
Alas, a trade to Miami for a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft means the former first-rounder is still worth it — yet Denver knows they’ve got to compensate for the Russell Wilson trade.
Russell Wilson trade comes full circle with Broncos trading Bradley Chubb to Dolphins
The Dolphins do lose a first-round pick, but it was one acquired from the San Francisco 49ers. Still, it was a valuable asset, as the Dolphins don’t pick their first player until the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Another trade for 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. (which makes a lot of sense considering the Christian McCaffrey trade) sends a fifth-round pick out of Miami. Thus, the Dolphins now only have five draft picks in the upcoming draft.
Bradley Chubb is a first-rounder who’s proven he’s worth it, so that comes out to a fairly even exchange. But this trade gets even better for Miami in the grand scheme of things, because as it turns out, the Dolphins flipped the Trey Lance pick for Tyreek Hill and Bradley Chubb. Plus, they moved up to draft Jaylen Waddle, who has the touchdown celebration of the year because he’s just that good. Talk about the finesse of the year.
And Miami needs the help right now, too. In a tight AFC East race, the Dolphins are ranked third, but they’re currently tied 5-3 with the New York Jets. The Buffalo Bills are one win ahead at 6-1. In a few weeks, with the Chubb and Wilson Jr. trades, the Dolphins could easily make a play for the playoffs.
It’s a major win for the Dolphins, who essentially flip extra capital to land one of the league’s leading pass rushers. For Denver, it’s more of a move to compensate all that they lost in the Russell Wilson trade. As a reminder, here’s what the Broncos traded away to land Wilson:
Now, the Broncos have a first-round pick, which is better than having to wait to draft their first player in the third round as was previously expected.
The Dolphins are making calculated moves to build up their roster at a critical juncture: they still have strong playoffs chances, and it’s a worthwhile gamble to steal away Chubb and Wilson Jr.
On the Broncos’ side, it’s a move that makes sense for them, too. Chubb had a backloaded contract that has him slated to earn $7 million in 2022, so this move clears up cap space when the Broncos probably had an inkling Chubb would sign elsewhere as a free agent anyway. Plus, the Broncos backfilled the position by trading for Jets pass-rusher Jacob Martin.
If the Russell Wilson trade panned out as planned, the Broncos and Chubb may have waited longer to see where their relationship would take them in 2023. But at 3-5, the same shameful record that Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are staring down, the conditions for the trade shifted.
In this case, the Dolphins get an A, and the Broncos get a B for making the best of a bad situation.