Hi fellas, the following is my take on what will happen with all of the 2012 Broncos players that are listed for any kind of free agency in the 2013 offseason.
ERFA (exclusive right free agency: to retain the player the team has just to present him the 3rd year veteran minimum. The player does not have room to negotiate with any other team if his previous team offers him a contract):
Tony Carter: he would deserve better salary for his 2012 performances but since he came out from the blue, and the Broncos does not have much room to play with under the salary cap, I guess he’ll be offered something more than the veteran minimum (3rd year player) and he’ll be a Broncos next year too. Still, call me crazy but this is the kind of player that could have a real trade market after he’ll sign the tender and if a right offer would come I think the Broncos will trade him. Won’t you trade him for a 3rd round pick in the 2013 NFL draft?
Mitch Unrein: I guess the Broncos will offer him the minimum vet salary that applies (3rd year player). He’ll sign it and will battle for a roster spot in training camp again. He improved every year so I really don’t discard him being a Broncos rotational player again in 2013. He looks like a keeper.
RFA: The Broncos have to tender each one of the player and other team could offer an offer sheet to the player. After a deadline is over, players with offers that Denver didn’t matched will join their new team that will give the Broncos draft pick corresponding to the tender Denver used.
Which Tender could use? From what I understood, since the new CBA there are three tenders that could be slapped on a RFA:
- 1st round tender: > 2,742M (1 year contract)
- 2nd round tender: > 1,927M (1 year contract)
- Original draft Status: > 1,26M (1 year contract)
NOTE: There is no draft compensation for RFAs that have been acquired through College Free Agency.
Lance Ball: (undrafted in 2008). I’ll start saying that I admire him because he’s a hard worker and battle his tail off for playing in the NFL. Now the Broncos have 18M of salary cap left and Clady to be signed (10M year minimum?). I don’t see the Broncos paying him 1,26 M. He’ll be a free agent. After he’ll hit the free market I guess Denver will offer him the veteran minimum to bring him back in training camp. If he’ll be back in Colorado this next summer it will depend if any other team offer him a better contract than Denver. My take: He’ll be back fighting for a roster spot if Denver could get him back as FA. Not sure he'll make the team.
Chris Clarke: (undrafted in 2008). See Lance Ball. He battled his tail off to play in the NFL. The Broncos won’t tender him and will wait until free agency. They’ll probably offer him a minimum vet salary to have him back in training camp. My take: He’ll be back fighting for a roster spot in training camp if Denver could get him back as FA. Not sure he'll make the team.
Britton Colquitt: (undrafted in 2009). I guess the Broncos will try to put a deal in place before they’ll have to put 1,26 M on him or let him hit free agency. He’s a valuable punter and a player I would not like to lose. Is 1,26 M too much for a punter? Yes, it is. So please Denver FO, make this deal soon so that we, Broncos fans, won’t have to worry about punters for years. If it’s not possible to make a deal, I would, at the end, tender him. Even if undrafted (so no compensation is required) teams would think twice before to offer him a contract that Denver can match. My take: new contract or lower tender (1,26 M).
Chris Gronkowski: (undrafted in 2010). I just don’t see any team giving 1,26 M to a fullback. Is it unfair? Yes. They hit and take hits as any other player on the field. But is not like Denver used him much more than in special team. Plus Denver wisely contracted Hester during the 2012 that could do everything Gronkowski would do, a part being brother of a top TE with crystal bones in the arms. My take: he won't be back.
UFA: Players that have accomplished 4 years or more in the league and whose contract expired will hit the open market and can be pursued by any team in any moment since the Free Agency starting date.
Ryan Clady: (Broncos 1st round pick in 2008). IMO this is a no brainer. He’s one of the best left tackles in the league and deserves to be paid as one of them. He could be franchised, but it would be an easy solution for 2013 and a terrible thing for 2014 free agency. A deal has to be reached; loose him could bring this team back for years. There is not any in-house solution (Beadles at LT) that is remotely close to his playing level, IMO. My take: new contract.
Justin Bannan: (5th round pick in 2002 by Buffalo Bills). I guess the Broncos would love to bring him back one more year at the veteran minimum (that anyhow should be 940K). Could it be done? Depends. Bannan played very well as Nose Tackle for the Broncos and is another of these hardnosed football veterans that Elway seem to like. The point is that in 2013 there are a number of good nose tackle free agents (Terrance Knighton, Sammy Lee Hill, Roy Miller for giving three names) that are younger than Bannan and could be brought in for not a stellar deal (Knighton benched in 2012, Hill being a back-up in Detroit) and even former Kansas City Chiefs 5th overall pick Glenn Dorsey could be tested as nose tackle (since he never looked comfortable as pass rusher). If the Broncos want to spend big at NT, then, there are Alan Branch and Roy Miller and Randy Starks that will demand massive contract in few months. Anyhow Bannan leadership should not be underestimated and I think Denver FO will work his tail off for having him at training camp. My take: new 1 year contract.
Keith Brooking: (1st round in 1998 by Atlanta Falcons). Does he wants to play another year? Is he worth 940K? I don’t know. I guess that the MLB position is the one that really looks like a puzzle right now. Mays looks to be overpaid, DJ Williams the same and nobody really knows if he can play MLB in this Broncos scheme. Irving is now listed as Strong outside linebacker and was not much used on defense down for two years and Steven Johnson played really well in special team but only 4 downs on defense. Will the Broncos draft a MLB in the 1st round? Will former LSU Minter still there at 28th overall? Who knows? If Brooking wants to play one more year he will anyhow take his time to decide where, I guess the Broncos will be really high on his list because this team will be a big contender in 2013 (barring any Manning injury à no plan B). Denver could wait until training camp to call Brooking and see what he feels like. My take: he won't be back.
David Bruton: (4th round pick by Broncos in 2009): 715K for his veteran minimum. Does a special team standout deserve more than that? I don’t know. I guess that Denver will offer him a contract that will includes basic salaries not this much higher than the minimum veteran, let’s forecast a 2 years 1,9 M with 1 Million guaranteed, is it not enough? Then if Kansas City, with his big salary cap space, wants to piss Denver off, well they will. My take: he won't be back.
Jason Hunter: (Undrafted in 2006). 840k for his veteran minimum. I don’t see him back with the Broncos. For two year he played all his body out for the Broncos, before spending this past 2012 on I/R. My take: he won't be back.
Dan Kopper: (5th round pick in 2003 by New England Patriots). His veteran minimum will be 940K in 2013. He played really good after Walton went in I/R. Does he want to play another year without the certain starter status? Will he wants to create his role on the team in training camp? Witch center Manning really wants to be his man? I would bring him back. I know he could end up being a backup center, but at least I’ll be a premier backup. Anything close to 1M for a great depth and experience in O-Line it is worth to me. Will another team offer him a better contract, since his 2012 performances? It’s probable. My take: new 1 year contract.
Jim Leonhard: (Undrafted in 2005). With Carter back I don’t think there will be room for him on the roster. He played well for Denver in 2012 and has value as security blanket punt return man, but his veteran minimum would be 840K, meanwhile Ihenacho salary will be something close to 480K as well as Gideon’s one. My take: he won't be back.
Brandon Stokley: (4th round in 1999 by Baltimore Ravens). If he’ll decide to play one more year, Denver will pay him his 1M. He is still worth a roster spot and the Broncos better bring back a young WR that could learn from him for one year. His chemistry with Manning could be even more crucial in 2013. My take: new 1 year contract.
Kevin Vickerson: (7th round in 2005 by Miami Dolphins). If a team will offer him a 3 year / 10 Million contract (or something similar) he won’t be back in Denver. He’s 30 years old and just ended a career year. I will back-up Denver FO if they’ll offer him another 2 years 3,5 Million contract. He really had a good year, but I remember him losing the starting job in 2011 before to end up in I/R. In 2010 (contract year) he again exceeded expectations. Two good years in two contract years. He could be back in Denver competing for a starter gig, but, IMO, Denver would be wise to offer him something more the veteran minimum. My take: he won't be back.
Ty Warren: (1st round pick in 2003 by New England Patriots). Two years on I/R and only one game played as a Bronco. I think he could retire. Anyhow he won’t be a Bronco in 2013.
Matt Willis: (undrafted in 2007). He had a long journey as a Bronco. I guess the team will look to bring him back in training camp for competition. His vet min will be 715K so I don’t know if he’ll make the team. My take: He won't be back.
This is only my opinion and again sorry for the long post, but what you think guys?