I had an epiphany. I started out to more clearly define my opinion of the prudent approach to rebuilding the Broncos. You know, smart, patient ...safe. We draft to our needs, give Kyle Orton another year to learn the play-book and get in synch with our receivers. Take another year to improve our run blocking and our run stopping. Hell, we might even make the play-offs next year with any improvement at all. Making the play-offs in the midst of a large scale reload …sounds good right? It’s really, REALLY hard to win in this league. A true fan has no problem living with mediocrity if we truly are building towards something special… Right?
About then my own personal devil’s advocate chirped up and bade me consider the flip side of the conservative way. What if Mr. Bowlen told McX to Win Now? What if the Phonz reach was motivated by pressure to Win? Maybe McX doesn’t care what the world thinks and isn’t afraid to go for it when it feels right? How much fun could a guy have in an uncapped year, having just been told to let it all hang out? An aggressive front office in this year’s Free Agency is critical to our ability to draft the Best Talent Available!
The harp strums as I lapse into never say never land after the jump…
QB: Top to bottom, the Bronco’s needs are widespread. So from the top, we’ll start by Looking at QB. Unless the Eagles would be willing to deal Kevin Kolb, the prospects at QB are slim. There are no quick fix QBs in free agency and none of the QB’s in the draft are a sure thing. With the risk too high trading up for Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen, we pick up either David Carr or Chad Pennington as our #2 and draft a late rounder to compete with Brandstater for the future. (Any time we can build while still trying to win now – Bonus!) We stand pat with KO.
RB: At running back we’re pretty good but we could make offers to Ronnie Brown (no way the Tuna lets him get out of town) Darrin Sproles (pretty unlikely the Dolts give up LT and Sproles but we could bid them up a bit) and Leon Washington. The latter might be had as the Jets have taken a couple hits monetarily with the contracts of Allen Faneca, Mark Sanchez and then Braylon Edwards. Washington’s quickness would be a nice contrast to the running styles of Moreno and Buckhalter. If we don’t land Washington then we pick up either Lendale White or Cadillac Williams to round out our Back field. Hillis can still run from fullback provided his pass blocking improves. Thomas Jones might also be an option from the Jets but I see them resigning him.
WR/TE: Again a position where we’re fairly well stocked. Let’s assume that we keep Brandon Marshall. For the sake of the concept, we’ll also assume that whatever deal sends him out of town, also returns us his replacement. At TE We make offers to Anthony Fasono & Owen Daniels. We let Scheffler go if we sign either and then stand pat with Quinn and Graham behind one of the former three. At WR we make reasonable offers for Vincent Jackson, Lance Moore and Hank Basket. If we don’t land one of these, we’ll be just fine with Marshall (or his replacement), Gaffney, Royal, Stokely, Loyd & McKinley. WR can be revisited in the latter rounds where there are several nice prospects to be had on the cheap.
O-Line: It’s been some years since run blocking has been an issue for the Denver Broncos. Remember when our line turned RB after RB to gold? Those days are over. We have a great Left Tackle in Ryan Clady and hopes are high that Harris will heal. …A few bodies here might do wonders. Run the ball, protect your QB, Score – Win. RIGHT?. At OT and G there are literally so many free agents out there that an aggressive team should be reasonably assured of landing one of each. While Center is a big deal for us this year and there are a few out there in FA ...for the money I’d prefer we draft a Center or find a versatile McD type that can move to Center. We DIG DEEP and sign starting quality players here at Guard and at Tackle. This simple paragraph does little to emphasize it’s own worth! Two starting quality linemen here go far towards allowing us #1 to RUN THE BALL & #2 Draft the Best Talent Available! (isn’t BTA the ideal way to approach the draft?)
D-Line: A tale of two seasons was our defense last season. I’m of the opinion that McX wasn’t given much to work with. We picked up some solid free agents but were limited by our talent once teams figured us out. A couple bodies here would be nice. We make offers to Kedric Golston, Gabe Watson, Marcus Spears, Johnny Jolly, Barry Cofield and make a reasonable run for Julious Peppers. (Wouldn’t he look good in Blue & Orange!) If we could sign one of these guys, we’d be less pressured to take one in the draft.
LB: Sure are some strong options here and we should shop strongly enough to land a star here. Either an inside guy like Karlos Dansby, DeMeco Ryans or Gary Brackett to push A. Davis and D.J.Williams. Or to challenge for a spot amongst our Five OLBs, Joey Porter or Barrett Ruud might be interesting. Of course it’s a real possibility that Rolando McClain might drop to us. Can’t imagine too much talent at Linebacker any time soon though, ...we should go to work now!
SS/FS: Not much in the way of starters available here. We’ll make some offers and maybe pick up another veteran but this is an area where the draft might be our best option. Eric Berry would be an ideal pick @#10. McBath looks to be on his way to being a solid starter, we need another youngster in there. Earl Thomas out of Texas might be just the guy we could trade down in the first and still land. Taylor Mays is one to look at closely …if McD believes he can be taught to cover? Could be a monster!
Steve Atwater (via CptChris562)
CB: Champ Baily isn’t getting any younger, Goodman’s a decent starter and the Phonz is maybe this season away from bust status. A choice of Leigh Bodden, Tramon Williams or Richard Marshall would be pretty terrific but the next four or five CBs available in free agency are solid players as well. We’ll need to pick up some help here in free agency to be sure. Open the purse Pat.
P: Kill em all, let Mike Priefer sort em out…
Bottom Line: Given the success of McX in Free Agency in 2009, we could very realistically complete all of the above transactions. This would leave us drafting for best talent available, rather than for need (After the first round at least) and open up a world of possibility! Imagine our team from early last season with some of the holes filled and another year under Josh McDaniel’s tutelage. My epiphinized version of Win Now won’t take us all the way but a realistic play-off team? Yes? Why not? McX kicked butt last year in free agency… We don’t have a 15M a year QB, we didn’t pay BM. We’re cash-rich and Capless! Pat Bowlen can prove he’s about winning above the $$ by spending $$ now!