Broncos in 2016 Free Agency and beyond

I thought a lot on how to write this post.

After the first four days of free agency I became curious to know how much free cap space each team still has at the moment.

So clicking on this link you can see the actual Broncos situation:

This site could be off for a couple of millions maybe, but for sure is not out of target.

The Broncos still have $5,451,926 to spend and it includes Ware restructuring.

If Von Miller is to be signed long term those 5,5 M are not even enough for getting him the 20M per year he’s targeting as minimum to sign.

So the truth about Malik Jackson, Danny Trevathan, Brock Osweiler and any other “Bronco” free agent is that if they want, or need to be paid, more than 1,2M this year, they won’t be re-signed by the Broncos not because the Broncos are gambling or mean or bad forecasting the market.

It is because they can’t. After the 2013 and 2014 big signings in FA, in 2016 the organization hit the cap wall.

No money.

If the Broncos were to re-sign any between Malik or Osweiler or Trevathan, we can take for sure that Ware was going to be cut and IMO that would have been a mistake.

Clady may be cut any moment if he will not agree on giving back a good portion of his salary (5M or even more). This would give the Broncos the ammunition to sign one or two FA down the line.

This is the truth and for the time being I do like having competition between Siemian and Sanchez while awaiting for the QB that will be drafted in one of the first 4 rounds in 2016 draft.

My guess at QB is that after Osweiler was let playing more than what would have qualified him to stay as RFA, the Broncos already knew that he’d be gone and started doing their do-diligence to find the QB of the future in the draft.

Also I want to add that the Broncos offered more money than the Bills to Tyrod Taylor in last year FA, but Taylor chose the Bills because he’d be the starter. So back then, maybe also because the offensive scheme changing, Osweiler was doubted. When he had to play, he played good enough to not lose five of the seven game he started.

Not to lose, he didn’t win them by himself, any of them. But still, with this defense he was the best we could hope for.

Now CJ Anderson, I think that Broncos FO sees him as a good option that is injured way to many times to be paid more than 2M per year. With no money to pay Von Miller, they would have liked to keep him in the RB rotation, but also wanted to see if they could lure an interesting compensatory pick in 2017. The Dolphins offer is good for a 5th or even 4th round compensatory pick, which is not bad at all since the Broncos got him as CFA.

CJ won’t leave for nothing.

Take in mind that if the organization is good in developing drafted and young players, and is capable of drafting very well, as the Broncos did in 2011 and 2012, that same organization can sign back only few of that players that has developed, because the open market will always dictated inflated contracts.

To sign all the own players before FA period begins is unthinkable because if an organization is contending each and every year, the odds are that the available cap space is as thin as air on Rocky Mountains. I do think actually that the Broncos managed their own cap very well having the room to sign Wolfe before the season ended. That was great cap management.

A bit more of details:

  • From 2011 draftees and CFAs Denver signed back ALL PRO CB Chris Harris Jr and have a franchise tag at the best defender in the NFL in Von Miller. Plus the FO got a good deal with scheme skilled TE Virgil Green.
  • From 2012 class, at the moment there was money only for one player. What we don’t know is if the Broncos first offered the contract to Wolfe only or to him and some of the other guys also but Wolfe was the one to accept it (with huge discount).

Anyway once you re-sign a draftee guy for 7 – 8 M per year…..there is nothing else you can do with the rest of the draft class if since the 2012 off season the organization was able to sign superstars FAs as Ware, Talib, TJ Ward, Emmanuel Sanders….you just hit the cap wall, either you cut some of these players or you are “happily” stuck with the players you have.

Would you want the Broncos to cut Talib, Ward or Sanders?

I don’t, they give value to our team, more than what Brock would, more than Malik, even thought in Malik case it has been a close call, he was really instrumental to the defense success.

Trevathan has injury history and they preferred to move on, and I clearly remember that in the last two years every Broncos fan wanted Broncos FO to draft a MLB….is not that we were all big Trevathan fans when new defensive scheme required moving him at 3-4 ILB…..not really.

I really like Trevathan but I understand that Denver cannot pay him 5-6M per year and is likeable that they can find a replacement within the roster or street free agent or drafting. I was big on Trevathan when we drafted him and I enjoy his style of play, he was great this year and the two fumble recovery in SB50 stands there to showcase how of a good football player he is.

Malik…it hurts me the most because I saw him coming to stardom before he reached it in this year playoff run. Yes, the key on losing him has been him reaching and topping his potential during the last three games as a Bronco.

Would have he played like he did during the playoffs also during the regular season, he would have been locked (and for much less money that he got in FA, even less than Wolfe), but he just started playing consistently (remember all those penalties for roughing the passer and unsportsmanlike conduct) and at his highest level in the playoffs; he might have been the key of reaching the “all timer” level for this defense: one thing is to be the number one defense  on a given year, another thing is to be one of the 3-4 best defense ever and Broncos defense reached the “ever” level during the playoffs.

Before the playoffs the Broncos signed Wolfe: maybe he was the only one to accept the offer but one thing has to be remembered, in Del Rio 4-3 defense he was the starting DE, Malik has been the backup for 3 years.

Another reminder: for the 2012 draft class, as for any player coming from Fox regime and schemes, the scheme and productivity evaluation started all over again in 2015 training camp: who knew that Jackson, Trevathan, Osweiler etc….would have been playing at high level in the new scheme? Nobody. This is why also this year Denver FO didn’t resign anybody before the regular season was over. And, IMO, Broncos FO chose Wolfe.

I also would say the following: better having Ware on the team than Malik, even knowing that Ware will be gone in 2017. It’s a close call but would be my call.

So summing up, the Broncos are executing a plan they devised months ago, and the plan was to get what they can in free agency (your “own” free agents are free agents, they’re not Broncos players anymore after the league new year starts) and draft very well at any pick they’ll have.

Let’s move over from the players that left Denver in free agency, most of all let’s thank them for everything they did as Broncos and congratulate them in case they received big time money.

Go Broncos!!!


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