Can you friggin’ believe this last couple of days? I can’t. I’d pinch myself, but then I might wake up and find that McDaniels was still the Head Coach of my beloved Broncos.
We had a fantastic 2012 season, finished 13-3, and most importantly swept the AFC West. Better than I thought we’d do, I predicted 11-5 and thought I might have drunk too much Kool-Aid. Unfortunately, we ran into a hot Baltimore Ravens team with a retiring squirrel-dancing HOFer that we had thumped previously. They beat us by a whisper and went and won the Super Bowl. I’m still not sure if we got cold coming off the bye (or frozen in the Denver weather) or just ran into a Ravens team with horseshoes up their… well, you know.
Overall, I was pretty happy with our team in 2012, but going into free agency, we had some serious holes to fill if we were going to make a run for the big game in February. We needed a healthy stud RB, a Guard, two Defensive Tackles as both Big Vick and Bannon were Free Agents, a Middle Linebacker, and a couple WR including a slot guy as Stokley was a FA and turning 37. My mom used to lecture us on the difference between Wants and Needs. If I remember correctly, and I might not as I probably wasn’t listening, a Need is something you absolutely cannot do without. So those are our needs going in. Our wants also should include a CB (could even be argued a need), and a Safety.
I really expected the FO to hold tight for a couple of days and let the furor die down and pick up the pieces once the foolish teams had blown their wad of cash. Nope. Hours into the free agency we struck hard with the Louis Vasquez signing. 4 years for $23.5 million. I was foolishly hoping for Andy Levitre from Buffalo. But we not only got the #2 rated FA Guard, but robbed the only descent O-Lineman from the Chargers. Double-tap! And only paid $5.8 mill/year compared to Levitre’s $7.8 mill/year. Not bad.
We re-signed Kevin Vickerson for 2 years for $5 million which is great at $2.5 million per. That shores up our NT position.
Then we went out and signed Stewart Bradley on a one year contract. I believe he was an All-Pro MLB in Philadelphia before being miscast as an ILB in Arizona. He should thrive here in our 4-3 and provide a backup/competition for Nate Irving and is a ST stud.
I have been hearing for weeks that we wanted Wes Welker and I paid about as much attention to that as the Darrell Revis rumors. But the next thing I know, we are signing Welker to a 2 year, $12 million deal. That’s $6 million per year, but it’s a whole hell of a lot less than Miami gave Mike Wallace ($12 million/year) or Seattle gave up for Percy Harvin (1st round draft pick). And we got the best slot receiver in football. And even better, it takes Tom Brady’s security blanket away. Another double-tap! That might mean an end to Brandon Stokley’s time in Denver, but I hope not. I hope we re-sign him for the minimum. He’s better than what we had as our 3rd and 4th receivers last year.
I was hearing all day that DT Terrance Knighton (AKA Pot Roast) was interested in the Broncos and so wasn’t surprised when they announced he signed for 2 years and $4.5 million. So we got both our DT holes filled for less than $5 million a year. Sweet! This guys is massive and will probably be the 0/1 technique guy we’ve been looking for. With Knighton and Vick covering the inside, this frees up Derek Wolfe to roam wherever JDR wants to stick him.
According to my pea-sized brain, we’re about out of money, so must be done. Nope. We just signed CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie AKA Sexy Bologna to a one year contract. DRC is considered one of the top young, playmaking cornerbacks in the NFL, is a freakish athlete with a knack for making big plays. He was another miscast player in Philadelphia as their nickel back. In his role on the other side of the field from Champ, he is going to have a chance to return to his playmaking ways from Arizona.
So where do we go from here? We needed a RB,
G, 2 DTs, MLB, slot WR, WR, CB, S, and a DE if Dumervil is let go. I keep hearing that we are looking at Louis Delmas. The Detroit Lion safety is only 26; one of the best safeties in the league, the highest rated FA S left on the board, but has trouble staying healthy.
Several running backs have been linked to talks with the Broncos including Rashard Mendenhall, who ended up signing with Arizona. I was not a big fan of Mendenhall, so I’m glad we/he passed. I wouldn’t be surprised to see us pick up a FA RB tomorrow either.
With almost all of our pressing needs filled, it will be a very interesting draft. Usually we have MHR brothers stamping and gnashing their teeth at some of the picks. Some because they were in love with a particular player, but sometimes because they felt another need superseded the hole that just got filled. Most of our obvious holes just got filled. Now we can go into the draft and look at the best player available. We can go after athletic, playmaking players without the fear of leaving a gaping hole. So who do we draft?
I have been in favor of drafting a DE, as I have been a fan of Rodney Adams’ drafting a DE is cheaper than a DT theory from the beginning. I can also understand grabbing a stud CB if he falls to us. Really we are in a position to grab a stud anything if they fall to #28. I’m not a fan of blowing a bunch of draft picks to trade up, but with our positions of need filled, we are in a position to do so, should they feel our guy is out there.
Wow, I can’t wait for tomorrow!