DENVER – Bradley Chubb walked onto Wembley Stadium Sunday morning, dancing smoothly to the music in his headphones. He stared across the field, soaking it all in, knowing the gravity of the moment.
Then he prayed and played another terrific game for the Broncos.
Unfortunately, it was his last for Denver. Despite the Broncos’ snapping their four-game losing streak with a 21-17 win over Jacksonville, it did not change general manager George Paton’s thinking.
Pleased with the depth at edge rusher and in need of draft picks, Paton shipped Chubb to the Miami Dolphins Tuesday, a source confirmed.
The Broncos will send Chubb and a 2025 fifth-round pick to Miami in exchange for a first-round pick in 2023 (San Francisco's selection, which is owned by Miami), running back Chase Edmonds, and a 2024 fourth-round pick, a source confirmed.
Paton said in a statement that the decision to trade Chubb was “incredibly difficult” and praised his time with the team, as well as his professionalism and leadership.
“Bradley Chubb grew into an outstanding player during his five years as a Broncos, positively impacting our team and community with his leadership, class and professionalism. We thank Bradley for his significant contributions to our organization and wish him all the best in Miami,” Paton said.
“This was a difficult decision that involved many considerations as we work to build and championship team. We have great confidence in our players, including a talented group of pass rushers, and this trade brings up significant draft capital to continue improving our roster,” Paton added. “Our goals and expectations of winning — and sustaining that success in pursuit of a Super Bowl — will not change. We believe in this team and are excited for the opportunity we have in the second half of the year.”
The trade represents the second straight October that Paton has shipped out the team’s best pass rusher. Von Miller landed with the Rams, ending the Denver career of arguably the greatest defensive player in franchise history and Super Bowl 50 MVP. Chubb, a former first-round pick whose career has been star-crossed because of knee and ankle injuries, has re-established his dominance. He was tied for the Broncos’ lead with 5.5 sacks with Dre’Mont Jones, a teammate which he performed a high tea sack celebration vs. Jacksonville.
That moment offered a snapshot into Chubb’s relationship. Few players are more popular in the locker room, making this move sting. Star safety Justin Simmons made it clear last week that he did not want Chubb traded, admitting, “he makes my job easy.” Chubb was the victim of a deep position and future contract complications. The Broncos could have franchise tagged Chubb at roughly $19 million for the 2023 season, a prohibitive move for a team with $32 million in cap space. The other alternative was to sign Chubb to a contract extension to bring down the cap number and provide him a deal that identifies him as a core player moving forward.
Paton has used that description on Chubb, but injuries played a role. So, too, did the signing of Randy Gregory last March to a five-year, $70 million deal with 28 million guaranteed. Paying both big money was always going to be difficult. The Broncos have young players they like, who will be asked to step up as Gregory hopes to return early this month. Baron Browning, out roughly a few more weeks with a hip flexor, Nik Bonitto and Jonathan Cooper have all shown flashes that warrant more playing time.
The Broncos also want to re-sign Dre’Mont Jones, who has blossomed as an inside rusher. With Chubb gone, he becomes a candidate for an in-season extension.
"I understand 'it's a business.' We ALL get it," Jones said in a tweet after the trade was announced. "We get asked to by in and care about the organization we work/play for no matter the outcome of our situations. And this one hurts my heart like no other. Gameday won't feel the same without my G (Chubb)."
DJ Jones tweeted: "Miami got a real one."
"This one hurt took me in from day one got me better every day. Miami got a great one! Love you bro!," Broncos OLB Nik Bonitto tweeted.
But this one hurts. Chubb was as captain. And now, with the season finally turning around, he’s leaving.
The Broncos also moved to acquire reserve DE Jacob Martin from the New York Jets, along with a 2024 fifth-round pick, according to a source. The Broncos will send a 2024 fourth-round pick to the Jets in exchange.
Martin went to Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora. He has 15 career sacks, including 1.5 this year, and has bounced around the league and playing with Seattle, Houston and the Jets.