How 2014 offseason could affect 2013 offseason.


This post is intended to give a glimpse of what is awaiting the Broncos in 2014 offseason.

It’s really interesting to me to look ahead of this year in a way to better understand any 2013 offseason Broncos movement and have a bigger picture in mind when to be happy or pissed off because of some movements.

I already have mentioned Denver Cap Room for 2013 season.

I admit I don’t have a clue of what will be Denver Cap Room in 2014, so I assume it will be a little worse than the 2013 because I assume the Broncos and Clady will arrange a deal soon.

Anyhow, the following is the list of Broncos free agents in 2014 (I didn’t considered ERFA and neither I guessed that some 2013 Broncos FA could be FA also in 2014, i.e. Bannan and Stokley could be the case).

Now, for a deeper analysis, I divided this list in position groups and I added some columns:

  • Team Role 2012: I listed the role played by the player in 2012 (IMO): Starter, Backup, 53 men roster.
  • Replacement in the team: I listed the name/s of the player already in the roster that “could” take the departing player place on the roster, if I don’t envision a player with that kind of potential role, I just list a “No”.
  • Others players at the same position: here I listed the rest of the player on Denver roster that play the same position but that I find hard to envision be ready to cover that roster position in one year.
  • Need: this column I used as results column. If I feel that the team should bring in some other player (FA 2013, FA 2014 or Draft 2013) I listed a Yes. Otherwise a No.

Some fair points before to start:

  • I listed as a no need to replace some not key backup or 53 man roster; even if I know that they’ll be for sure replaced by other players (the team will have 53 men roster anyhow).
  • “Replacement in the team” and “Other players at the same position” columns are a result of my own evaluation, I can be dead wrong.
  • Most important: I assume that a great organization is planning big personnel movement at least 2 years in advance (this does not mean that Denver makes all his roster movements thinking about two years from now, but some movements have to be done one year in advance to let the team have more room for improvement at any given moment).

This explained (so that then we can discuss about my takes) let’s start with the positional groups:

Safeties:

I’m not worried by Denver Safeties situation. Quinton Carter should be back from the injury that sidelined him for the whole 2012 and he was improving a lot towards the end of 2011. I think that, given that he develops more, he could be a starter in the NFL and I envision him more as a run stuffer SS that a FS. Ihenacho played well in special teams in 2012 and could make the team in 2013 and Gideon was on the practice squad for a long period. Maybe I would try to find a FS to compete in 2013 or 2014 with Moore (if the team decides to keep more after the 70 yards failure, thing that I’m not discussing here). My take: Denver will not look at S during 2013 FA but could draft a prospect the FO really likes in the draft, letting the player develop for one year.

Cornerback:

I listed “No” in the need column for two reason: first of all Harris will be a Restricted Free Agent in 2013 and giving him the 1st round tender could be cheap for the Broncos, given that he’ll repeat the kind of production of this past year. Second: Bolden played fairly good and looks to have the right mindset to develop in a good corner too. My Take: the Broncos will draft one or two corners in the 2013 draft and give him/them a year to develop into a nickel corner or at least a backup in 2014. I don’t think the team will sign a free agent unless they find a cheap no-hype player that could fit the system.

Defensive End:

Ayers will be a UFA in 2014 and Denver FO better find a way to have a quality backup again for the 2014 season. Could Ayers be brought back? I think so. My take: Denver will re-sign Ayers in 2014. The Broncos will draft a DE in 2014 draft, if a good fit happens to fall to them.

Defensive Tackle:

My Take: The Broncos will look deeply on DT Free Agents in 2013. 2013 Draft also will see Denver trying to grab some new player. Starters need to be found in the 2013 offseason and at least some project for the future have to be started.

Fullback:

My Take: I don’t see this position being worrying at all the Broncos FO at this point.

Linebacker:

DJ Williams could be even cut this offseason for cap management. Woodyard is underpaid even if the performance escalator (from 2M to 3M in 2013 because of performances) is right. Trevathan played really well when used. Irving is listed as strong outside linebacker backup and Steven Johnson made the roster last year as backup MLB. The point here is this one: does Denver FO envision Trevathan as a good starter in 2014? They should ask themselves this question, because if they see potential in him, they should use 2013 to develop him (giving him more reps with the 1st team); they don’t see enough potential? They could start talking with Woodyard about a new contract. I think that this one could be the contract that could be done this offseason, especially if one between Mays and DJ Williams will be cut or both will accept a pay cut. My Take: I saw enough on Trevathan for believe that he could be a quality starter in the NFL. The NFL is cruel businesses, if I’m right, in 2014 neither Williams neither Woodyard will be WOLB for the Broncos, and I know that this is completely unpopular between us, but is just the way I see it.

Offensive Line:

We are questioning whether Kuper should take a pay-cut in the 2013 offseason. Probably our discussions are even more justified by the fact that in 2014 the outlook of Denver interior offensive line could be completely different. Beadles just made the pro-bowl as alternate. JD Walton was the starter ahead of Koppen before ending up in I/R.  Plus the 2012 roster backups will be 2014 free agents too (this said I think that CJ Davis will have hard time making the roster in 2013 already). My Take: if possible, the Broncos FO will select an interior lineman, that they consider having great potential, quite high in the 2013 draft. If they can they’ll resign Beadles as soon as possible, also because he could play offensive tackle too (in case of dire need). It’s really interesting to me that Quentin Saulsberry at the end of the regular season was lsted as “suspended by the commissioner” even if he was a practice squad teamer. Denver FO offered him a future contract anyhow. How many times a practice squad guy is suspended and then not only he wasn’t released, but he was offered a new contract, basically? I guess that at least Megazu likes him a lot and that with a bit of effort Saulsberry will be the backup in 2013 and the starter in 2014 (he’ll be ERFA in 2014 offseason).My Take: new contract to Beadles, Saulsberry will be closely evaluated during training camp and a new offensive interior lineman will be added to the roster through the draft, if possible.

Quarterback:

My take: I don’t know if Henie will make the team in 2013 due to cap room. My Take: A rookie free agent could be added to the practice squad or another veteran could be added to the 53 men roster if his salary will be lower that Henie’s.

Running Back:

Denver running back situation confuses me a bit. McGahee was the clear starter prior his injury, Hillman is a change of pace back that need to improve drastically in pass protection to ever be effective in the Broncos game plan. Moreno was a 53 men roster turned in a good starter after McGahee was lost and played better than he ever did in the past proving that he could be a three-downs back. Also in 2013 offseason Lance Ball is a RFA that could be retained. He has been a good special teamer and a backup running back. I would like the Broncos to find a great three down running back through the Draft, but I’m not sure they’ll do it in the 2013 draft. Fannin is a mystery whose only no-secret is that he got injured two years in a row in training camp. Still the team didn’t decide for injury settlement to let him free. Do the Broncos really like him and wishing he could prove himself as a productive player in the NFL? My take: if Lattimore is still there in the 5th round, Denver will jump up on him; the team will let him recover in 2013 for then be ready to compete in 2014. I’m not a great fan of Lacy, I really like Stanford’ Taylor but I would prefer if Denver would try to get Jackson in free agency, I know he’s not young at all, but he could have  a good year left and could be a great horse to run towards the superbowl ring.

Wide Receivers:

My Take: pay Decker now. Do it, it would be cheaper than next year and to find reliable receivers in the draft who are not prima-donna style of freak is really complicated. I know Manning converted average receivers into good ones and great ones in Hall of Famers. Still pay Decker his money and look for finding a slot receiver that in a year could have chemistry with Manning for the after Stokley. Also worth to remember: Decker slide to the 3rd round on Draft day because he couldn’t work-out his position drills before the draft. Pay the man.

Final Thoughts:

With all these things in mind, it appears clear to me that Denver should look to lock both Clady and another one between Decker and Beadles. Woodyard should be considered too if the FO does not see Trevathan capable of taking his place. At least one of these three players should be signed long terms in the 2013 offseason, meaning that there won’t be enough money for any other big signing through FA.

Plus, IMO, Denver draft will be heavily impacted by finding depth for the future FA period, when the Broncos surely will lose some important player.

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