ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As the Broncos enter the second half of the season, a few new additions could provide a spark as the team looks to make a run.
Denver dealt outside linebacker Bradley Chubb to the Dolphins ahead of last week's trade deadline, and in addition to a coveted 2023 first-round pick, the Broncos received running back Chase Edmonds in return. A fifth-year veteran, Edmonds is a dual-threat player who can produce as both a rusher and a pass-catcher.
"I'm just excited to be here," Edmonds told the press Monday. "I'm grateful for the opportunity. ... I got to talk to the running back room — Melvin [Gordon III], Latavius [Murray], Mike [Boone], Marlon [Mack], all those guys, and we've already kicked it off [on] a good foot. So right now, for me, I'm just trying to learn the offense, put my best foot forward and capitalize on whatever role they've got for me here."
Edmonds said he spoke on the phone with Russell Wilson after arriving in Denver on Wednesday, and the running back expressed his excitement to play alongside the nine-time Pro Bowler.
"My first day down here I got traded here, I came down the next morning, got to get on the phone with Russ, talk to him a little bit," Edmonds said. "I'm definitely excited for the opportunity. ... I saw him in Vegas last year before free agency started, and got to just run into him and tell him I would be excited if I ever could play with him. Come full circle, I'm here now, so again, I'm just trying to put my best foot forward."
The trade deadline falling amid the Broncos' bye week was a blessing for Edmonds, who has had plenty of time to learn the nuances of Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett's playbook. Edmonds noted that the verbiage is similar to what the Dolphins utilized, so joining a new offense has been a smooth transition so far — so much so that he expects to be fully up to speed by Sunday.
While Edmonds said that he did not anticipate being traded to the Broncos, the running back exuded optimism about his new situation. With an opportunity to elevate Denver's offensive production, Edmonds noted that he looks forward to contributing in any way he can.
"When certain things happen in your life, you kind of visualize what you think your life is going to be, and obviously I didn't think that I'd be a Denver Bronco once I signed with Miami on a two-year deal," Edmonds said. "But life happens, things happen — you've got to adjust and adapt. I'm here now, and I'm happy to be here."
In addition to trading for Edmonds, the Broncos acquired outside linebacker Jacob Martin from the Jets. A native of Aurora, Martin grew up in the Denver area and attended Cherokee Trail High School. Now a member of his hometown team, the fifth-year veteran expressed his gratitude for the chance to play in Denver.
"I thought it was a tremendous opportunity," Martin said of learning that he was traded to the Broncos. "I was excited to be back home. I got a chance to hang out with some of my old high school buddies over the bye, and just talking to them about how we always talked about and dreamed about playing here in Denver. Now that it's here, super surreal, super excited. Couldn't be happier."
Martin first played at Empower Field at Mile High 10 years ago, when Cherokee Trail took on Valor Christian High School in the 2012 Colorado 5A state championship game. Valor Christian came away with a 9-0 victory thanks to a touchdown run by star running back Christian McCaffrey, now with the 49ers, but Martin still holds fond memories of getting to play at the Broncos' stadium.
"Cherokee Trail versus the vaunted Valor Christian and Christian McCaffrey, but it was great," Martin said. "It was a great memory. Obviously, it didn't turn out the way we wanted it to, but it was a great time. Great team, and my brother was also on that team, so it was a good time. It was super surreal playing in that stadium, and even when I played against the Broncos two weeks ago, the last time I'd been there was that state championship game, so it was dope. And being in that same locker room — we were in the visitor locker room, and that's the locker room we were in when we played in the state game. So a lot of cool memories coming back to that place."
As Martin joins the team he grew up rooting for, the outside linebacker has major shoes to fill. The Broncos dealt one of the team's most productive pass rushers to Miami, but Martin noted that he does not feel any extra pressure despite joining the team on the heels of the big trade.
"I'm just confident in my skills," Martin said. "I've been waiting on this opportunity to be in the right place at the right time with the right guys around, and being comfortable here makes me very positive on what I can bring to the table."
With nine games remaining and a playoff push still possible, these two additions could prove vital to the Broncos' success down the stretch.