So I was thinking about the choice of Orlando Franklin in the 2nd round.
First of all, I am a strong supporter of ALWAYS selecting an OL in any one of the first 3 rounds of every draft. OL is so darn important to the success of a team. So good for the Broncos selecting a man (mountain) that they feel can help us.
But even more importantly....... I'm thinking the selection of this player, AND the selection of Quinton Carter, signifies that the Broncos have made some FO decisions and are executing a plan. Namely, they need to make certain that they are freeing up enough cash/cap room to make a run at one of the premier DT's in FA.
So I think Franklin's selection means Ryan Harris will not be signed to a large contract. Veteran, starting-quality RT's in the NFL seem to be earning about $3.5 - $5.5M. With Harris' injury concerns but also his stellar play, let's place him around $4.5. Now look at Carter replacing Hill, who is due $2.5M next season. He could also be replacing Dawkins (heaven forbid) at $3.5M, and when we consider that we now have 4 Safeties selected in the past 3 drafts, all rounds 2-4, I'd say it is distinctly possible that we may cut both. If so, now you are looking at a net financial gain of perhaps as much as $10.5M (including what Harris would have likely cost) in 2011 alone. Add Daniel Graham, who has already been cut, and his scheduled $4.2M and we are looking at a rookie class coming in to save the team up to $15M in 2011 salary, while still maintaining (improving?) the talent level on the field.
Forget Haynesworth's ridiculous $100M signing, and you will see that DT's in the uppoer echelons generally earn around $5.5 - $8M per year. I can easily see us going after a Cofield or a Mebane (would prefer Mebane myself) as well as maybe one of the lower-end types. This, in addition to keeping Thomas, would ideally result in us having a 4-man DT rotation with one "permanent" anchor (the big FA signing) and a few other guys fighting for their jobs.
In looking at the overall situation, seems to me that's where this thing is going.
By the way, even though we didn't get a returner out of this draft, I think we have dramatically upgraded our ST over the past 3 days.