We still have VonDoom!!!
What's up Bronco Country? I've been seeing a lot of you fretting your poor selves to death in the comment sections.... scared to death EFX has no plan and no idea what they're doing in Free Agency. Other than the Manning sweepstakes and tinkering with a few DB's, EFX hasn't exactly gone out of their way to hand out ginormous contracts to FA's. Are they ignoring the team by doing this? Or are they being smart and taking what comes to them without breaking the bank?
Remember guys... we just signed up one of the better contract/cap guys in the league.... I'm pretty sure they know what they're doing. Look... I love Tim Tebow just as much as his biggest fan, but the wheels of the bus aren't going to come off if EFX chooses to go in a different direction.
Let's take a look at who's still out there, and who we can replace our own FA's with. (We'll explore the defensive side of the ball in Part 2).
Unsigned Bronco Free Agents:
Brodrick Bunkley (DT) - Please, please, please pay this dude! He was instrumental to our defensive success during the Tebow run. Not a pass rusher, but a gap controller, an immovable object, capable of holding the point of attack more times than not. To me, he is a must sign.... especially since we lost out on Soliai. The only way I see him slipping through the cracks is if he wants paid like an All-Pro. Even though he is a great run stuffer, he is one dimensional.
Marcus Thomas (DT) - In my eyes, not quite as good as Bunkley, but younger and more inexperienced. I end up saying this every year about Thomas, but he is one of the youngest 6 year vets you'll ever see. There is still a chance he will catch on and become a stout player. He hasn't been much of a pass rusher up to this point, but we all know he has the raw tools to do it. He is very young, and another year with Nunnely couldn't do him any harm. I say resign him.
Wesley Woodyard (LB) - I love Woodyard. He is a great leader for a guy so young (26). He is great for the community of Denver. He is a tackle machine when inserted into the lineup, and he has great wheels for a backer. DJ Williams has found himself in trouble (once again - B Marsh), so Woodyard is needed even more now. We need him back. Ohh.... he's also one helluva Special Teamer (Capt.).
Joe Mays (ILB) - I'm torn on Mays. I like (not love) what he does on first and second down. Outside of that, he is useless (Andra Davis). For the right price, he's a good backup. If he gets even remotely too expensive.... let the Saints have him.
Mario Haggan (LB) - Mario has been a consistent playmaker for the Broncos during his tenure here. However, I think his days a Bronco are over. Outside of his leadership / team spirit.... Mario just doesn't fit what John Fox likes out of his backers. Mario is not good enough to be a DE in the 4-3.... but not quick enough to be a LB. He is another special teams stud, so if we keep him as such, I'll not complain. For now though... he walks.
Jason Hunter (DE) - Meh.... whatever. Seriously.... I don't mean to sound slick... but we could upgrade. I love the guy's work ethic, but I say he walks. Thank you for being one of the good, team guys Jason. Good luck with your next journey.
Daniel Fells (TE) - Fells made some of the most clutch catches of any Bronco this year, but if something better falls to us, he could easily be replaced. I have big hopes for Julius Thomas and Virgil Green. Let Fells walk is the verdict, but only if we can find an upgrade.
Spencer Larsen (FB) - He hasn't been used much in the new system, but he's improved his playmaking ability. I'm on the fence about him... I'd like to upgrade with Owen Schmitt. Impartial.
Derrick Harvey (DE) - He was invisible last year, but he has immense talent. Is it safe to call him a bust yet? Let him walk.
Russ Hochstein (OL) - Russ played decently enough when Kuper went down, but was it enough to warrant keeping him? We can do better.
Dante Rosario (TE) - Dante has been with Fox for a good long while now. Perhaps he is instrumental in teaching the young TE's the job? Keep him for now, until something better comes up.
Manny Ramirez (OL) - Big, strong, useless. Nice knowing ya.
Signings So Far:
Jason Hill (WR) - At one time, San Fran was pretty high on this kid. We need competition at WR, so this isn't a bad signing.
Mike Adams (DB) - Not a sexy signing, but a substantial one nonetheless. Our Safety core (as it stands now) is one of the weakest in football. Adams brings experience and versatility. Let's just hope he's not Nate Jones 2.0 - he shouldn't be cause he was a full time starter last year on a pretty good D. This guy HAS TO upgrade our backfield, and he didn't break the bank. Solid signing.
Quarterback: This one is obvious right now. Peyton Manning could be our starter with Tim learning as an understudy.... the same could happen with Tim getting traded.... Tim could be our starter if we lose out on Prince Manning.... or we lose out on Manning but trade Tebow anyway (I'll die if this happens.... just say no to Tannehill or Weeden 2012). Whatever EFX throws at us, we need to be prepared to move on. Sulking doesn't become us. So.... as it stands right now... Adam "freaking" Weber is the only sure fire QB on the team.
Peyton Manning (IND) - I want Tebow! That may not happen though! If it doesn't happen... one of the greatest passers the world has ever seen wouldn't be a bad consolation prize. Manning is throwing for teams... Manning is looking like... well... Manning again. One off year and we're all supposed to believe the guy is done? I'm not buying it. Peyton Manning is a freak of nature who was born to throw the football. The rules just don't apply the same way to guys like him. For the record though.... I really really really want Tim Tebow to be my starting QB for the next 15 years. All the whining in the world isn't going to make that a reality though. We just need to wait and see.
Billy Volek (SD) - We need a backup no matter who the starter is in 2012. Volek is older, but low mileage, and one of the better backups in the league.
Dennis Dixon (PIT) - An athletic backup with some upside. He's young as well.
Jake Delhomme (CLE) - Knows Fox... knows McCoy. Could be a great mentor / clipboard holder for a couple years.
Running Back: It's looking like our RB needs will be met in the draft and not the pro talent pool. Outside of McGahee, no one really turns your head. Lance Ball is a decent 3rd option. Knowshon Moreno is on his last leg, but he'll be kept cause the brunt of his contract has already been paid out. I could also see an option arising of us trading him to New England for chump change. Any way you hash it, we need some talent added to the RB core.
Michael Bush (OAK) - He's a good rotation back, but he struggles with energy and he wore down as the season rolled along. I personally think he will demand too much money, but he's still ripe for the picking.
Mike Tolbert (SD) - A versatile back... Tolbert can run, block, and catch... he's just not a starter. For the right price, I wouldn't mind this signing at all.
Brandon Jacobs (NYG) - A power / goal line back at this point... nothing more.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (NE) - A very reliable rotation back who could be brought in to split carries with McGahee. He hasn't fumbled in the pros yet. I personally think EFX will be in the market for a RB in the first three rounds next month. I don't really see us signing any of these guys.
Let's draft a guy to pair with McGahee and Moreno. No need to splurge in the RB market. Lamar Miller and Doug Martin look good to me.
Fullback: I'm not real worried if Larsen stays or goes. We don't use a FB too much anyway. If we do need one though, I like:
Owen Schmitt (PHI) - I don't think Schmitt has ever really had a fair chance. Teams have tried to use him as a blocker only, but Schmitt is a weapon. He can run well.
Wide Receiver: This is another position we could use an upgrade. Since Tim is on the hot seat, I'm not as high on Hines Ward. If Tim was safe, then Hines would be the perfect compliment. He is great at coming back to the football when the QB has to improvise. Anyways.... I'm totally against spending a 1st rounder on Mike Wallace. Having said that... do you guys see anyone out there in FA that would fit in here? Here's who's left:
Hines Ward (PIT) - Only if Tebow stays.
Ted Ginn, Jr. (SF) - He's a return man, nothing more. We do need one though, but I'd rather look in the draft.
Lee Evans (BALT) - Boy did he screw up in the AFC title game. Regardless, he's a deep ball burner, in the mold of Carolina's Steve Smith.... but weaker.
Steve Smith (PHI) - Awesome possession receiver who's coming off a two year injury hiatus.
I say we use a mid round pick on Tommy Streeter, or someone of that caliber.
Tight End: It doesn't seem as if the FO is too high on Daniel Fells. He made some awesome, clutch catches for us, but is easily replaceable. Waiting in the wings, we have some talent in Julius Thomas & Virgil Green (both very athletic). My take is to grab one in FA, and avoid this position in the draft.
Dallas Clark (IND) - I would advocate signing him ONLY if Peyton is a Bronco. I don't think Clark has ever lined up as an actual TE. He's always split wide. Dallas is still a monster receiver when healthy.
Visanthe Shiancoe (MIN) - Awesome redzone target who could put up big numbers in the right system. Not too shabby of a blocker either, but catching the ball is his forte.
Jacob Tamme (IND) - See Dallas Clark above.
Bo Scaife (CIN) - no better than Fells, but no worse either. More of a receiver than Fells.
Offensive Tackle: I am very happy with Ryan Clady, Orlando Franklin, Chris Clark, and Ryan Harris (welcome back home). The only reason we'd need a Tackle is if we plan on moving Franklin to Guard. There are some out there if this is the case.
Max Starks (PIT) - He's coming off a torn ACL and he's 30... but if he can get healthy, he'd be a nasty mauling RT.
Marcus McNeil (SD) - Risky signing because of neck problems, but if he realizes no one wants him for top dollar, he may fit in nice here as a RT.
Offensive Guard: We could upgrade Beadles, or we could let him learn for another year and see where we end up.
Eric Steinbach - Has really struggled the past couple years with injury, but for the right price, he could be a nice addition if his body has healed up.
Robert Gallery - Same as Steinbach above. High risk / reward signing.
Chris Kemoeatu - Run blocker who could fit in here.
Center: Same as Guard.... hard to tell what we'll do. If Manning comes, I could see us signing Saturday for a year or two while Walton learns or we find his replacement in the draft.
Jeff Saturday - Only if Manning comes. Has to be a short term upgrade over Walton, and gives either Walton time to learn, or us time to find OUR replacement. I still wish we could have snagged Scott Wells.
Part 2 will be up soon. If you think back to last year, we didn't go hog wild in free agency then either. Manning is still a distinct possibility, and if he doesn't come, we still have a play maker there. The defensive side has more quality still out there. We'll get into it soon. Thanks!!!