For NFL teams, there was more to worry about on November 3 besides the Presidential Election. As luck would have it, the NFL trade deadline dropped on the very same day. Preparing for the upcoming deadline, which proved to be relatively uneventful, the Denver Broncos were dealt a blow when General Manager John Elway and CEO Joe Ellis tested positive for COVID-19. The timing could not have been worse.
The Denver Broncos’ 2020 season so far
It’s been a challenging year to assess for the Broncos. The team started its season with three straight losses against strong opponents. While only the loss to the Buccaneers was a blowout, things began to look concerning for the Mile-High city’s favorite team. Luckily for them, the team bounced back in week four with a decisive 37-28 win against the New York Jets.
That win, which came before the bye week, invigorated the team in the weeks since. They followed it up with an 18-12 victory over the New England Patriots before following up with a 43-16 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs. With a win over the Chargers in week eight, however, the team is in an excellent position to turn around their woeful start.
With Drew Lock slowly showing both his promise and the concern for injuries, the team could be on the verge of finding itself. However, they did not do so at the trade deadline after being dealt another blow.
The Denver Broncos front office deals with COVID-19
While the trade deadline was never expected to be a blockbuster for any team in the NFL, it is often the last time that a team has to make a splash whether they are vying for a playoff spot or trying to reach an elite level.
It was, perhaps, the worst possible time for the team to experience such an event. The team announced the diagnosis in a statement (per Bleacher Report).
“Other than mild symptoms, both Joe and John are doing well. They will continue to work from home in self-isolation and participate in virtual meetings while their health is monitored.
“Based on a review of contact tracing data with the league, we are confident these cases originated independently outside of team facilities. There were minimal close contacts identified with each (no players or coaches), and those individuals have been notified.”
The Broncos have not yet provided an update.
The diagnosis is not exactly a surprise to many. After all, the NFL has had several outbreaks after refusing to do a bubble like the NBA. While most of the attention has gone to players who get the virus, a general manager needs to be at full capacity if he wants to make the types of moves he can at the trade deadline. Whether or not Elway planned on making big moves, one is always just a call away in the NFL.
Regardless, the team went through the deadline without making any moves. Although the deadline was predictably tame, it doesn’t mean that every move was utterly pointless.
What teams did make moves?
Just because there weren’t any blockbuster deals, it doesn’t mean the deadline was completely silent. The Steelers improved on their already-great start by picking up Avery Williamson from the New York Jets for several role-players.
The thriving Baltimore Ravens also got a decent addition with Yannick Ngakoue. Furthermore, the Seahawks pass-rushing woes may have been appeased after acquiring Carlos Dunlap from the Bengals.
The Broncos announcement didn’t necessarily change their strategy heading into the deadline, but it showed just how quickly non-sports issues could bleed into that side if they are not careful. Now, the Broncos only have to wait and see what happens next.