2014 season team preview – First Day of FA review

Now that the first day of Free Agency is on the book I’m willing to take a look at how this 2014 season has started for our beloved Broncos.

I’d say that I’m impressed but not excited by Denver FO moves.

I understand the CB signing and I’ll guess over what happened in signing Talib instead of DRC.

What I understand less in the SS push and big money signing.

I will start with TJ Ward.

I have nothing against TJ Ward, I fully appreciate his decision to join Broncoland and I really hope to see him handing a Lombardi trophy while wearing a orange and blue shirt in 2015 on a parade passing through Denver downtown.

Still almost 6 M to a Strong Safety is a lot of money for the 8th man in the box. Does he cover well? For all the report from Cleveland he’s quite average, especially against big TEs.

Does he represent an upgrade over what the Broncos have on the roster? I believe so. What is not shining on the deal is the position: Strong Safety, position that the Broncos used more as the 8th man in the box; cannot the Broncos develop one of the young players drafted or signed as CFA in the past 3 years? What about Ihenacho, Bruton or Carter or Bolden or Boyett, no one between them can be developed? We get to the SB with Adams and Ihenacho starting at SS, did we lose because of them?

I just can’t understand why this amount of money has been dedicated to a position that is no premiere anymore in the modern NFL, I would understand more if the safety signed would have really good coverage skills. It does not look the case.

Talib signing taste as DRC rejected a similar offer in terms of yearly salary (probably less years were on his offer sheet) and the Broncos didn’t like it. Also could be that Broncos FO really liked Talib better than DRC.

Still with DRC, Talib and Revis on the market, I guessed that the Broncos could and would have wait on one of them to go off the table to see the price and then react.

Instead they played the full-in; I just hope they are right on Talib and his off-field problems.

I was more a DRC-resigning guy, at least with him the team knew what there was on the table.

Denver also re-signed Caldwell; a move that to me is also not exciting news, given that physically he is threat to nobody on the field and his speed is just one dimensional. He has not Decker athletic ability and his route running has to be discovered by an average fan as I am. He has his salary doubled….I’m puzzled.

After spending so much money, what is left for the Broncos?

Wow, a pass rushing DE or two please and a reliable MLB.

And at least an experienced O-Lineman.

MLB could be acquired later in the pre-season, as happened the past two years.

Beason was often injured the past seasons and won’t attract big deals at the beginning of this FA period. He might be added later on after OTAs when again it would be clear that the Broncos do not have a starting caliber MLB and they’ll seek veteran help again.

Maybe Denver FO will draft a MLB prospect that could be ready to go next year, or maybe not, Draft Days are still far away.

If not Beason, with whom Fox could be close, Daryl Smith at 32 will wait for the right call in FA, and Denver could just be the right landing spot (having Del Rio as DC) for something more than the veteran minimum.

What is worrying me more is reliable O-Line help. I don’t like the option of moving Franklin inside at LG and Clark to RT. Clark is light compared to Franklin and Franklin never played a snap as OG in the NFL. So it will be two new starters instead of plugging in only a new LG.

Is there any suitable and not expensive veteran LG on the market? Could Ryan Miller becoming so good in OTAs and training camp to let the Browns look like inept talent evaluators? I’m skeptical.

Could Willie Colon be an actor for the Broncos? Davin Joseph from the Buccaneers? Wade Smith from the Texans? They all look like after OTAs and through training camp addition for a team like the Broncos.

The only FA signing that would excite me would be adding Michael Oher and move him or Franklin at LG. I admit that it would be a stretch and I was a fan of Oher when he came out from college (I never saw the movie The Blind Side); Oher story was well documented and came out at the right moment (I guess that unfortunately his story is not unique and a lot of other persons lived or are living similar experiences).

There is any rookie that could be plugged in and be productive in his first year? Antonio Richardson is a massive T entering the draft after his junior season; would the Broncos select him at the back end of the 1st round (or trading back at the beginning of the 2nd round) and use him as a G in his rookie season? Will he be good at that?

Now it looks a down year to lose a starting LG, barring trades there is no A options at the horizon, but again the Broncos lost an ALL-PRO LT in the 2nd week of the season and went on to the SB with was thought to be a suspicious backup RT….let’s give them time.

The most glaring need is the addition of a really good pass rusher. There are some veteran options out there in FA and the Broncos already had extensive talk with Jared Allen. DeMarcus Ware is coming to Broncos headquarters as first visit after being cut from the Cowboys; Julius Peppers has been cut by the Bears and Phillips is still there. These are thought to be the best remaining options and also the best ones for Denver that is certainly looking for a great veteran in dire desire for a ring. Between these four names my favorite is Ware, if healthy or capable to be healthy for the 2014 season. Then it would come Allen and Phillips, they are close IMO, then Peppers that looked to have lost a step or two the past season. Certainly Denver has to sign one of these guys and have him as a starter.

The other starter should be one between Wolfe (whose health should come first after the terrible season ending seizure symptoms and could also decide to retire), Malik Jackson that played really well in 2013 and could develop more into a really solid complete DE/DT tweener and one between Ayers and Mincey, both FA at the moment but that could also be brought back for a fair price (especially Mincey). Then the Broncos still have Quanterus Smith, which rookie year ended at the end of training camp when he was put on I/R, a prospect I was really high during draft evaluation last year and that could have had the time to recover from his ACL injury.

Most probably the Broncos will select a DL high in the draft, if possible, but still they’ll look to use him as pass rush specialist or backup in his rookie year; one between Allen, Ware or Phillips has to be signed also to be the leader of the DE group otherwise too young IMO.

My guess is that Denver will sign DeMarcus Ware, if he’ll accept something close to 5-6 M max (something like 2-3 years, 15M, 8 guaranteed) or Phillips that was a great signing in 2013 and could still be productive in 2014 counting on a 100% Von Miller.

The point is that Denver after this signing should be short on money for any other signing….and more pieces are needed to complete the roster, we just experienced how important is to have a good backup at any position; the Broncos need at OL (C and G), WR, another quality RB since Hillman looks to be the odd one at Dove Valley and at LB and CB on the defense.

Ahh, a new kick and punt returner has to be found, ‘cause old sport Holliday has been sent packing.

Thanks for the reading folks, how wrong do you thin am I?


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