The list of free agents continues to grow almost as fast as the rumors of other more free agents to come. First goes Charles Woodson from the Packers. The Jets release big names of Bart Scott and Calvin Pace. The Colts let go of longtime team member Dwight Freeney, and Austin Collie. The Eagles are thinking of who to unload. Nnamdi Asomugha has been asked to take a pay cut. I just talked to a Pittsburgh fan who thinks that the Steelers will be cutting salary. He thinks that Polamalu could likely be asked to leave. Rival Ravens are not in a great situation themselves, as they face the contract negotiations of Joe Flacco. He says they may let go of Paul Kruger and LB Ellerbe.
My question is, who is going to pay for these guys? All of these teams are trying to create cap space. Who is going to spend money on these veteran players that are good enough to play but past their prime? The teams that have money, have such because they don't spend it. And likely they will use the funds they have to focus on resigning guys from their own roster. So where do these guys go? I am curious to see who is aggressive on what seems to be a buyers market.
The Broncos are in a solid cap situation. They have Elway's positions of priority: QB, DE, CB, and LT locked into contracts and they still have breathing room to resign guys for this year to keep their team for the most part intact. They have one of the best defenders in the league in Von Miller who is playing way above his salary. WR DT is a great talent that is paid a lot less than other WR's with similar stats. Champ Bailey is still a productive corner and should be solid for another year or two. The next few years should be interesting as they have to make decisions that some teams this year are having to make.
I just received news of Tom Brady's contract extension which is extremely cap friendly. He will be making about half of what his position value is over the course of his contract. This will allow the Patriots to have more flexibility in resigning guys and going after guys they may want in free agency. Some of these guys that want to close out their career for a contender may very well want to play it out for the Pats.
I think its time for the Broncos to do some restructuring. I don't expect the Broncos to make a big splash in free agency. But to win the AFC you have to go through the Pats. The Pats will more than likely improve this offseason. What would help in beating them over the course of the next few years would be for veteran players to accept slight pay cuts. This would create cap space and the opportunity to keep the players they have on their team and potentially sign some vets that want a championship to close out their career.
Peyton Manning has been willing to restructure his deal in the past to keep players on the team. Money is not an issue with him. Their were reports of him trying to take less money than what owner Irsay made him accept. (Obviously before the surgeries) During his past free agency tour, there were reports that the Titans offered him $25 million a year and partial ownership of the franchise. He took less money to play for the Broncos. I think that he would be more than willing to create space for Elway.
Elvis Dumervil is a very valuable part of the Broncos defense. But he is the highest paid defender on the team. Is he worth what he is being paid? The answer to me doesn't matter. He should be willing to take a little less to make room for the betterment of the defense.. And then there is Champ. Champ is nearing the end of his career as Manning is. He wants a championship. Would he be willing to give up a few million dollars to help make a run at it?
I don't know how realistic these scenarios are. But for Denver.. the time to win is now. Peyton Manning is still an elite QB. He has built chemistry with the other guys on offense. Champ is still a very solid corner. They have young players who are playing outstanding. Pretty soon they won't have the money to pay for everybody. Veteran players sacrificing some money would help these guys get to the top. Not just the top of the division and the standings in the regular season. But to the top of the podium in New York City after Super Bowl 47 and perhaps beyond.