Rejoice, fellow football fans, for our sorrows may be soon be no more than mere memories. The lockout clouds may finally part and allow the heavenly beams of football sunlight to break through and warm our frigid fanatic skin. Obviously we're not free and clear yet, but my eternal optimism has taken over and allowed my mind to fill itself with dreams of the wonderful wonderful sport that is Football.
I urge you, now, to follow me down a rabbithole of hypotheticals.
If all goes well, Free Agency will begin Wednesday. I'm admittedly uneducated on the details, but hopefully we can rework Brian Dawkins deal down before then, as well as figure out if Ryan Harris will be sticking around. This will allow us to get the quickest jump on the people we need to sign.
1.The number one necessity for our beloved Broncos, in my opinion, and pretty much anybody's opinion who has had the chance to glance at the Denver Roster, is Defensive Tackle. I would love for us to be able to get Brandon Mebane or Barry Cofield, and I say pursue both and sign the first one you get the chance to sign. They're similarly ranked, and if you would like to look deeper into which you'd preferREAD THIS. I generally like to build through the draft, however when you're essentially starting from ground 0 in a position (as we currently are at the DT position), it can't be a bad idea to shell out a couple bucks on a good DT. I would also say that neither Mebane or Cofield represent an immense amount of pass rush, and are more of runstoppers than defensive skill position players. Thats exactly what we need, a solid runstopping force in the middle of our defense that can force runningbacks outside consistently. Hopefully in next year's draft we can pick up another very solid to outstanding DT (Jerel Worthy, anyone?) An additional possibility is Amobi Okoye-see more in runningbacks.
2.Trade Kyle Orton. Love or hate Tebow, from a longterm standpoint, we need to see what we have in him, and we need to get rid of Kyle Orton. I've been a big fan of Kyle Orton. He does his job quietly, fairly successfully, and he's performed admirably in what I would admit is a tough climate to be a quarterback. (Due to the fans, not the altitude.) When Kyle Orton arrived, he was a throw in. He was no more than a very small consolation for the loss of Cutler. He turned out to be a helluva football player, who's put up VERY respectable stats. If we trade him now, we could get up to a 2nd rounder, thats an incredible turnover on an investment if you ask me. I also think that his trade worth will never be higher than it currently is. He had inflated stats last year due to our running game's complete ineptitude and the amazingly pass-centric McDaniels system. Yes, Kyle Orton could quite possibly be our best chance to win this year. Despite this, I don't think Orton is the man to take us to the Super Bowl, and I definitely don't think he's the man to win us the Super Bowl. He's not a natural leader, its simply a role thrust upon him due to his position. We need to find out if Tebow has some NFL chops, if so, we progress, building the team around him. If not, we hopefully do so poorly under his play that we discover that he's for sure not the one, and our record is poor enough to get us Andrew Luck or the next most eligible quarterbachelor. (My apologies, I'ma fan of bad puns and wordplay.) Another reason to lose him? Salary. We could always use his $6 million on a free agent or 6.
3.Runningbacks!!!! Hey guys, in case you were unaware, the Broncos' running game last year was atrocious. I literally shed a tear 9/10 times someone was handed the ball instead of thrown it. Since we didn't address this need through the draft (not a criticism, theres only so many picks in a draft), we'll need to address it during free agency. A running game isn't something you can limp through a season without. (Technically it IS, you just limp your way to a terrible record.) I have high hopes for Moreno, as he's shown flashes of promise, and its due only to injuries that he hasn't broken the 1k mark. That said, I think a featured back system is becoming more and more antiquated unless you have someone like Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson. Even then, I'd prefer having the smash and dash tandem option. Many people have attached themselves to the idea of picking up DeAngelo Williams. I personally loathe that idea. Williams is an impressive player when healthy, and I'd love to see him in the Orange and Blue, but I don't think he's worth the financial risk. If we pick him up, he pretty much uses up our RB budget, and if he hasn't recovered fully from his knee injury, thats a large sum of wasted money.
I think we should pursue more of a power back to pair with whoever our agile back will be. I wouldn't be upset at all if we were to pick up Tim Hightower. I'd be ecstatic if we were to pursue either Mike Tolbert or Michael Bush. Both would be excellent backs to pair with Moreno, and both would be taken from divisional opponents. I remember hearing that Tolbert was loved by the SD management, so he may be tough to get ahold of, but if we were able to, I think the rewards would be immeasurable. Him running reminds me significantly of Mike Alstott, and his legs don't ever stop moving, always plowing ahead for extra yards. Bush would be a pretty option as well, I always like the idea of the Raiders losing anything, and a quality back disappearing from their roster and appearing on ours would make me quite happy.
Another option I think we should look heavily into, is a trade with Houston in which we pick up Steve Slaton and Amobi Okoye. both could have contracts reworked, because neither demands the salary they're currently recieving. Their secondary is horrendous, and we have an absurd amount of safeties, perhaps we could send them Hill and a mid to late round draft choice in exchange for the two? Both players certainly have talent. Amobi would be a nice addition to our DT rotation, and Slaton would, if nothing else, push Moreno to stay healthy, as they have similar playstyles, and theres no solid management tie to Moreno, as Xanders has claimed 0 responsibility for much of the McD era drafts.
4.Fullbacks!!! Hey guys, in case you STILL were unaware, the Broncos' running game last year was really really really really bad. Part of the reason? Lack of a true leadblocker. I love Spencer Larsen, the guy plays with heart, and I think he should stay in a uniform, but primarily as an ST'er. He's simply not a fullback. He doesn't open lanes the way Vonta Leach does for Arian Foster.
I think we have a few options here. Obviously number one would be to sign a proven NFL FB such as Vonta Leach. Now, while I would love to have him on our team, he's eyeing becoming the highest paid FB in the league, and I'm unsure we can afford him. If we can, I say pull the trigger. If not, we'll have to look elsewhere. Another option I droolover is John Kuhn from GB. He quickly became one of my favorite players last year as I watched him leap over Patriot players repeatedly for the extra yard. I'm honestly not sure how good of a blocker he is, but simply on his running skills alone I'd like to sign him. Finally theres the option of undrafted free agents. (See undrafted Free agents)
5.Cornerbacks. If Perrish Cox isn't convicted, this becomes significantly less of a need. If he IS convicted, this suddenly becomes a large need in terms of depth. Goodman, if healthy, makes a quality starter but is getting older, and has dealt with injury problems in the past. Thompson is one of my favorite Broncos, and I think is our nickel corner for the next 10 years, but I simply can't see him being effective consistently against the likes of Calvin Johnson or other monster Wide Receivers. Vaughn played decently, but is more of a ST'er in my opinion. Thankfully I think Champ Bailey can shut down his side of the field for at least the next two years. This leaves us with need for 1 solid CB. If Cox is out of the picture, I'd personally be ecstatic if we were to use the 6 million we got from losing Orton and picked up Jonathan Joseph. I know that his salary will be steep, but if we get him, we're set at CB until Champ is no longer capable of holding his own. I generally don't believe in building through free agency primarily, as I said earlier, but if its an elite player still in his prime, I'm significantly more forgiving.
6.Defensive End. We need depth at Defensive End. I'm hopeful that Ayers will have a bit of a breakout year now that he'll be back at his natural position. We're all praying that Doom will have recovered fully from his Pectoral injury and will be back to his old self. I don't expect 17.5 sacks again, that'd be ridiculous considering he's leaving his best position, but I am hoping for 10 sacks from him this year and 6-10 from Ayers. We also have Beal, who I think will prove himself to be a capable player, but we need at least one more person in the rotation, preferably two to three. I don't think we need to break the bank on the position, we just need to grab some average players who will be able to hold their own on running downs or if Dumervil or Ayers get injured.
7.Undrafted Free Agents. First and foremost: Mark Herzlich must be a priority. I don't know how he wasn't picked up by any teams via the draft.... I know we picked up Irving to fill our Middle Linebacking position, but if we grabbed Herzlich and he were to win the position, Irving could move over to back up on the weakside, and could eventually replace DJ Williams. I like DJ's play, but he's not a perfect locker room presence by any means, and I think Irving could eventually be as good or better than him.
Herzlich is a passionate player, passionate leader, and former first round prospect. Everybody knows his story by now, and I think I can safely say nobody would be against him joining the team. If he truly isn't past his health concerns, we'll find out and it will have been worth the try. If he is, and another team grabs him, we'll watch him anchor their defense for the next decade.
Next up on my list is Derrick Locke. At one point during the offseason I was petitioning the use of a 3rd rounder on this guy. He's fast. Really fast. Obscenely fast. As in he's been clocked running his 40 in the 4.2's. Yep, that fast. If he ONLY were to play as a returner, I believe he'd have an impact. In today's NFL, I don't see him not being used in red zone and gadget packages. Yes, he's quite small, but Dexter McCluster isn't exactly a giant and he single handedly won Kansas City's season opener last year in the return game.
Last but not least are the fullback options. Both Owen Marcecic and Henry Hynoski would be solid pickups, and we should pursue both.
8.Possible trade losses. We need to rebuild this team, and there will inevitably be losses in the process. If a team were to pursue Gaffney, it wouldn't upset me by any means if we were to lose him for a 3rd or a 4th. He's a solid possession receiver, but I strongly believe Eric Decker is going to be our number 2 receiver for years to come. Another possible loss we could handle would be Eddie Royal for a 3rd. Bring Matt Willis up from the Practice squad, he had an electric preseason last year, allow him and Decker to battle out the 2nd reciever/slot receiver position battle, then at the beginning of next year let Thomas be our #1, Lloyd be our #2, and whoever the best man is to be the slot receiver. This would give our receiving corps a solid build for the next 2 to 3 years, and once Lloyd no longer serves a purpose, move Decker to the #2 receiving position and draft a new slot specialist.
First post, so go easy, but let me know what you think.