Happy trails, Phillip Lindsay. After 26 years of Colorado pride, the best thing that can happen to your football career is to leave the state.

Divorce is painful. While the breakup between the Broncos and Lindsay is not final, we all know that it is both necessary and best for both sides.

It’s best for Lindsay, who in three NFL seasons in Denver has never been properly appreciated by the hometown squad he’s put heart and soul into.

As much as it bothers Broncos Country to lose a man who was all we could ask for in a local soccer hero, shoving Lindsay out the door to test the free agency really was the only wise decision they made new General Manager George Paton. Why? Lindsay would never be RB1 in coordinator Pat Shumur’s offensive program.

And Paton is now free to acquire the true number 1 that this team needs. I know where the Broncos can find a bell cow ball carrier that can take the pressure off quarterback Drew Lock. Melvin Gordon is not the answer. He wasn’t the answer when John Elway paid too much for him a year ago and is certainly not the long-term solution to running back.

Outside of a Hail Mary deal for disgruntled Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson, the most effective way for Paton to ameliorate the Denver offense is to pull in Alabama in the first round against Najee Harris.

Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images

Najee Harris (22) of the Alabama Crimson Tide ahead of Pete Werner (20) of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the third quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game at Hard Rock Stadium on January 11, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

At 6-foot-2,230 pounds, gravity-defying athleticism to jump a Notre Dame defender in a single jump, Harris is everything the undersized and injury-prone Lindsay could never quite be for the Broncos.

Hey, I love Lindsay. Always have and always will. If a doctor could transplant Lindsay’s competitive heart into linebacker Von Miller’s chest, we’d all marvel at the most dominant soccer player of the 21st century. Instead, the Broncos have to hope and pray that it doesn’t turn out to be Paton’s greatest folly of 2021 to take advantage of last year’s option on Miller’s contract.

The Vonster has been on cruise control since Super Bowl 50. Cruise control could eventually take Miller to Canton, Ohio. But few things in sport annoy me more than Hall of Fame talents trying to get along with talent on their own. In that regard, Miller reminds me a little of former Rockies outfielder Larry Walker, whose commitment to baseball was third or fourth on his priority list on any given day.

After the pain of missing the entire 2020 season due to injury, will Miller finally grow up at the age of 32? Let’s hope so. Or the Broncos have no chance of reaching the playoffs.

Can you say I’m unsure that Paton can reshape the culture of this team as long as Miller is asked to lead? But this objection to Miller, my first impression of Paton’s freelance work, was downright positive.

Reaching a deal with defense attorney Shelby Harris before it went public was a signal to the dressing room the Broncos will take care of themselves, something Elway never thought was particularly important.

Though Ronald Darby is signed for three years, a $ 30 million deal could be a risky investment in a cornerback whose physical reliability was less than solidly # 9 overall pick in the NFL draft.

If, despite the odds, one of the ballyhooed quarterback prospects (maybe Justin Fields of Ohio?) Slides into Denver, Paton would have to pull the trigger and drop the chips where they are at training camp. However, if draft scenarios emerge, the Broncos are now in an ideal situation to start trading again in the opening round.

A back trade would not only allow Paton to retain additional draft capital, it could also enable the team to pull in Harris, who shot the Crimson Tide 2,690 yards and made 70 passes in his last two seasons.

If the Broncos can’t find a way to land Watson, they won’t knock Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City off the field at AFC West by throwing the soccer ball around the yard. Harris’ physical presence would allow Denver to punch the Chiefs in the mouth and see how their gentle defense reacts.

Did the Broncos get Lindsay dirty? No doubt.

But it’s never too late to do the right thing.

We hope Lindsay finds riches and 20 touches from a team that values ​​him.

And here you dream of Harris carrying the Broncos back to the playoffs.