DENVER -- The NFL trade deadline features more fascinating scenarios than transactions.
Beyond Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins to Cleveland on Monday, no big-name players switched homes. The Broncos looked into multiple avenues to upgrade their roster, but stood pat. Their lone acquisition came a week ago when Denver landed young tight end A.J. Derby from the Patriots for a fifth-round pick. Derby is expected to be active this week at Oakland, and is viewed, possibly at the expense of Jeff Heuerman's playing time, as a versatile player who can chip block and run seam routes.
Denver's inconsistent running game -- the Broncos' 3.9 yards per carry ranks 23rd in the league -- prompted many fans to call for an offensive lineman. However, it was a seller's market, with roughly 25 teams looking to upgrade upfront, including Seattle and Minnesota. In the end, the Browns kept stalwart left tackle Joe Thomas, the 49ers held onto to tackle Joe Staley, and the Bills decided tackle Cyril Richardson was not expendable. The Broncos added a guard recently, and don't be surprised if Billy Turner, signed off the waiver wire, pushes for playing time at guard this month.
The Broncos had a greater need, it can be argued, along the defensive line. The defense's exploits remain breathtaking -- the Broncos are tied for first with 26 sacks and their 80 takeaway points are 25 more than anyone else. Denver, however, struggles to stop the run. The Broncos permit 117.4 yards per game on the ground, ninth worst in the NFL. The Jets shopped defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, a talented player who has been previously suspended for violating the personal conduct policy. According to multiple reports, the Cowboys talked with the Jets about Richardson, but nothing materialized.
The inactivity in the NFL was not a surprise. Coach Gary Kubiak alluded to it on Monday -- that the players on the roster must continue to improve and develop. The Broncos' patience was rewarded with cornerback Lorenzo Doss last Sunday. The Broncos need players to step up along the defensive line, including Sylvester Williams, Adam Gotsis and Darius Kilgo.
The Broncos sit tied atop the AFC West with the Oakland Raiders. Sunday night, the Raiders host Denver in Oakland, where the Broncos haven't lost since Dec. 19, 2010.