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Denver Broncos center Matt Paradis (61) lines up across from New England Patriots defensive tackle Alan Branch (97) in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field. Photo by Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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Schlereth: Patriots ‘gap continues to grow on the Broncos,’ NFL

Denver Broncos center Matt Paradis (61) lines up across from New England Patriots defensive tackle Alan Branch (97) in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field. Photo by Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

If the Denver Broncos want to catch up and compete for a championship with the New England Patriots, they better do so fast. And drastically.

At least that’s what Fox Sports football analyst Joel Klatt told 104.3 The Fan’s “Schlereth and Evans” on Thursday.

“New England’s not going anywhere, and they’re getting better this offseason. So unless you’re drastically getting better, are you really competing for a Super Bowl? I would say no,” Klatt said.

Indeed, the Patriots have made several splashes during the offseason thus far, most recently signing Cincinnati Bengals running back Rex Burkhead and re-signing defensive captain Dont’a Hightower to a long-term deal.

Meanwhile, Denver’s made just one splash free agency signing — guard Ron Leary — and continues to wait and see when, or if, Tony Romo will be released by the Dallas Cowboys.

“I understand there’s plenty of time before training camp starts. But you look at what they’ve added, and here’s where (Bill Belichick), here’s where they are better, than anybody else and why they continue to create a gap, a chasm, between them and the rest of the AFC. They’ve read the market correctly,” said “Schlereth and Evans” co-host Mark Schlereth.

Schlereth said the gap between New England and Denver, along with the rest of the league, has only widened since the Patriots’ Super Bowl LVI win over the Atlanta Falcons.

And that’s largely due to, Schlereth said, New England’s philosophy of trading draft picks (unknown commodities) for players with league experience (known commodities).

“Give me good football players, guys who I know have figured this league out and can play in it as opposed to signing a draft pick and it’s still a 50-50 crapshoot,” Schlereth said. “So, I look at that, and I think it’s a great philosophical approach to give you the best chance.”

Recently, New England’s acquired defensive tackle Kony Ealy and a third-round pick for a Carolina Panthers second-rounder; Brandin Cooks from the New Orleans Saints for the No. 32 pick overall; and Dwayne Allen and a sixth-rounder for the Indianpolis Colts fourth-round pick.

“If you go out, and you’re New England, and you draft in the third round a defensive end, what are the odds that defensive end is a better player than Kony Ealy? If you go out at No. 32 overall and pick a wide receiver, what are the odds that wide receiver is going to be better than Brandin Cooks at 23 years old. Highly unlikely,” Schlereth said.

“So, a fourth-rounder for Dwayne Allen. What are the odds that a tight end in the fourth round is going to be better than Dwayne Allen?”

Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.