I've heard a lot of people saying that Free Agency isn't the way to win games. I've heard that we're better off building our team for the draft, and we don't have the money to go after any big names. I've heard that none of the recent superbowl teams made big waves in free agency prior to going to the big show.
Well, I think we have something a little different. We have a players' coach in Fox, and we have one of the most solid locker rooms in the league. We have an offense that adapted to Tebow and a defense that will be adapting to their 7th coordinator in as many years. We have a team and environment where the shuffle of free agency doesn't necessarily mean major adjustments; I think the mentality of the Broncos allows these transitions to be much easier and more productive.
Jump with me!
Brian Dawkins (please retire, if FA/Draft goes this way!)
DJ Williams to Philadelphia Eagles (Conditional 3rd/4th round pick in 2013)
RT - Demetrius Bell (Bills, 6'5" 311lb) ~$10M/yr
CB - Aaron Ross (Giants, 6'0" 192lb) ~$3-4M/yr
SS - Laron Landry (Redskins, 6'0" 220lb) ~$8M/yr
MLB - Curtis Lofton (Falcons, 6'0" 241lb) ~$7M/yr
LDE - Mario Williams (Texans, 6'6" 283lb) ~$17M/yr
DT - Brodrick Bunkley (Broncos, 6'2" 306lb) ~$8m/yr
DT - Jason Jones (Titans, 6'5" 285lb) ~8m/yr
QB - Dennis Dixon (Steelers, 6'3" 200lb) ~1m/yr
FB - Le'Ron McLain (Chiefs, 6'0" 260lb) ~1.5m/yr
Now, before you go around trying to tear my head off, hear me out.
That looks to be ~$65M/yr; with properly structured contracts for new FAs, restructured contracts for current players, and long-term bonuses, probably closer to about a $40M number. The Broncos currently have ~$48M to cap, and with the drops, I think these are very achievable FAs!
PS - I have only done surface research on the salaries. Please let me know if my numbers are off!
R1: WLB - Zach Brown (UNC, 6'1" 244lb) - With the addition of Lofton at mike, another speedster/pass-rusher at Will
R2: RB - Doug Martin (Boise St., 5'9" 223lb) - Slower combine than expected but hit top 10 in other drills
R3: WR - Juron Criner, Jr. (Arizona, 6'3" 224lb) - Great weapon - can stretch defenses
R4: CB - Josh Norman (Coastal Carolina, 6'0" 197lb) - Speed + youth at CB is needed.
R5: DT - Hebron Fangupo (BYU, 6'1" 323lb) - The Big Mormon!
R7: QB - Darron Thomas (Oregon, 6'3" 223lb) - Not as big as Tebow, but would be a serviceable backup
QB: Tebow, Dixon, Thomas
RB: McGahee, Martin, Moreno, Fannin
FB: Le'Ron McLain
TE: Fells, Green, Thomas
WR: Thomas, Decker, Criner, Goodwin, Hill
LT: Clady, Clark
LG: Kuper, Ramirez
OC: Walton, Ramirez
RG: Franklin, Ramirez
RT: Bell, Beadles
LDE: Williams, Ayers
NT: Bunkley, Fangupo
DT: Jones, Warren
RDE: Dumervil, Ayers
SLB: Miller, Mohamed
MLB: Lofton, Irving
WLB: Brown, Woodyard
LCB: Champ, Norman, Carter
RCB: Ross, Harris, Carter
SS: Landry, Bruton, Bush
FS: Carter, Moore
KR: Hill, Decker
PR: Hill, Decker