Sure looks like Broncos, Sean Payton are falling into Jim Harbaugh's trap

He will never play for him again, but J.J. McCarthy is a Michigan man like Jim Harbaugh, through and through. Here is how he is unintentionally helping his former head coach screw over a rival.

Jim Harbaugh, J.J. McCarthy, Michigan Wolverines
Jim Harbaugh, J.J. McCarthy, Michigan Wolverines / CFP/GettyImages

Don't you see it? Well, the Denver Broncos need to get their eyes examined because it is so obvious to everyone but them. For the better part of a decade, they have had no idea what they are doing. Not since Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset after winning Super Bowl 50 has this AFC West franchise mattered. However, that could change if they were to draft the right quarterback for once.

When speaking to Broncos head coach Sean Payton, Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network was able to gather that Denver trading up from No. 12 to get a quarterback was very "realistic." Payton cited that "it's good to be Monti (Ossenfort) right now." Ossenfort is the general manager of the team picking at No. 4 in the Arizona Cardinals. They don't need a quarterback, but are in love with Marvin Harrison Jr.

That all suggests that quarterbacks are going 1-2-3 to the Chicago Bears, Washington Commanders and New England Patriots, in that order. Expect for those three quarterbacks to be Caleb Williams to Chicago, as well Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye to the other two franchises. That leads us to QB4 on our big board: J.J. McCarthy. His former Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh feels he is actually QB1.

"I think he plays quarterback the best of any quarterback in the draft. He's incredible. So, big market, small market. Cold weather, hot weather, it won't matter."

If you connect the dots, Denver can move up from No. 12 to be in a good position to draft McCarthy.

Harbaugh's Los Angeles Chargers pick at No. 5 and don't need a quarterback. They have Justin Herbert. Given that the Bolts play in the same division as the Broncos, Harbaugh is clearly setting Payton and company to fall into his Michigan McCarthy trade-up trap. Oh, this is going to be great! Let's discuss what this entails and who Denver could realistically trade up with to land McCarthy.

Jim Harbaugh about to ensnare Sean Payton in his J.J. McCarthy trap

To be perfectly clear, I like McCarthy as a prospect a ton. He is a better version of Brock Purdy. For that reason, I have a hard time seeing him fail at the NFL level. However, where he goes does matter because only in the right situation can he achieve all of his five-star potential coming out of the IMG Academy by way of Chicagoland. Payton could be a great teacher for him, but Denver is poorly run.

From what I have gathered over the last few weeks, there are three teams who think very highly of McCarthy who could be in position to draft him this spring: The New York Giants picking at No. 6, the Minnesota Vikings at No. 11 and the Broncos at No. 12. Also keep an eye on the Las Vegas Raiders picking at No. 13. With all of this intel, there is no way that McCarthy makes it past New York at No. 6.

So if the Broncos want to get ahead of New York at No. 6, they only have one real trade partner. That would be Arizona at No. 4. Keep in mind that they love Harrison out of Ohio State, who should be the first non-quarterback taken this spring. While they could go with another wide receiver, the price to move up to four is steep. Denver would have to give up its soul to move up to No. 5 with the Chargers.

Minnesota seems to have its ducks more in a row than Denver. While the Vikings could move up to No. 4 in a deal with the Cardinals, all they really have to do to get McCarthy all to themselves is to strike a deal with Harbaugh's Chargers at No. 5. They are actually the prime trade back partner for an NFC team needing a quarterback. Heck, New York might even try to switch places with the Chargers.

So if the Cardinals are asking too much to move back eight spots, and the Chargers won't do it outside of a Godfather offer, who do you even trade with? New York wants the same player. So that would mean you next likely trade partner would have to be the Tennessee Titans at No. 7, or even the Atlanta Falcons at No. 8. By that point, McCarthy will have already been drafted, so what is the point?

The point is at this point, you might have to make a deal with the devil, or one that puts you into a crippling situation. McCarthy could be a good NFL quarterback. I'm actually counting on it. However, for the amount of capital the Broncos would have to give up to get into the top five could ruin them for years. Imagine being even more terrible with even fewer resources at your disposal in the future.

Granted, the Broncos need to win now for general manager George Paton to keep his job. Payton may have a longer leash, but what is to stop him from retiring a second time if the Broncos are a steaming pile of crap again? And even if the Broncos were to get McCarthy, he will only be the third-best quarterback in the division, firmly behind Harbaugh's handsome Herbert and one Patrick Mahomes.

Denver needs to take the best player available at No. 12 and not worry about a quarterback this year.

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