A look at the Denver Broncos roster in 2013 shows a younger football team heading into camp. Free agent signees seemed to replace some of the older guys on last years roster. Keith Brooking(37) at MLB, is replaced by Stewart Bradley(29). DT Bannan (33) is replaced by Terrance Knighton(26). At RG, Louis Vasquez(26) replaces Chris Kuper(29). And at WR, Brandon Stokley(37) is replaced by Wes Welker(32). That means that Champ Bailey is the only projected defensive starter over 30. And Peyton Manning and Wes Welker are the only offensive starters over 30. That certainly is a positive since this is a young man's league.
Last year some of these older veterans were added after injuries. We could see something similar this year if some guys go down. However I think there are some solid veterans on the market that I would like to be brought into camp. They would potentially fill a good role at a cheap rate. Here are a couple of these guys:
Woodson was a Green Bay Packer cap casualty. They needed to clear cap space to sign Rodgers and Matthews to big contracts. And the 37 year old was not on their priority list. The secondary was less than stellar last year, and Woodson was bothered by a collarbone injury. Now he sits on the free agent market waiting for someone to call. He was quoted as calling himself "ancient", saying that nobody has really called him. Although San Fransisco has been reported as having interest, they drafted a Safety in the first round and had a slew of draft picks. It's hard to imagine they would have much room for him.
Does the secondary need someone "ancient"? I know some would probably say he is too old and that they would rather have someone younger with more promise on the roster. But I think he could add something that I'm not sure is on the roster right now. I am not saying he is an every down player at Safety or Corner at this point in his career. And he definitely is not the pro bowler he was a few years ago. But I do think he can be a situational player that offers a skill set that would improve the defense.
How would he fit into the defense? In base downs, Carter will start at SS and Moore at FS. With Woodson brought in, it would add improved depth at the Safety position. He could be brought in for certain nickel packages. And I also think for certain games, he could be brought in frequently for certain matchups. More specifically, I think he can cover a tight end better than any safety on the roster.
I know he is old and past his prime, but he fits a perceived need, and he would not be relied upon to play significant snaps. He is a solid tackler, and very instinctive. I'll take an instinctive, proven veteran over a young, athletic, unproven athlete. I think he still has some gas in the tank. Much like Stokley, Brooking, Bailey, and Manning still did last year.. other players well over thirty. I just don't want one of the reasons the Broncos lose a game in the playoffs being because they couldn't cover a tight end. And then having to lament about it all offseason long. I think Woodson could be a guy who fills that role.
I think the only way that he is signed is if someone gets hurt. But I would love to see him brought into camp to see him fight it out for a roster spot.
Here is NFL.com's top 100 players of 2013 player profile of Charles Woodson who came in at #85:
I think we all kind of feel for Stokley. He came in last year after everyone thought his career was over, and played outstanding. He really helped Peyton make the transition to Denver. Then he got replaced with the signing of Wes Welker. It seemed to spell the end for Stokes as a Bronco, especially when Elway talked about Stokley. He pretty much showed appreciation for what Stokley had done, and seemed to indicate that he was done.
Peyton publicly spoke of wanting to have his running mate back with the team. He was quoted as saying that he hoped that Stokley coming back was not a "closed door". I know you don't bring a guy onto the roster just as a favor to a player. But I hope that it would encourage them to consider it.
And I think that Stokley could definitely add something to the WR core. He would be a quality backup to Welker. And though not run often, he could be brought in on 4 WR sets from time to time, with him and Welker on the inside. Stokley has been with Peyton the longest, and has that "wink and nod" familiarity with him. He would be a good quality veteran presence as he was last year, who could get some snaps from time to time, while adding depth. I think he has one good, solid year left. This would likely mean that rookie Tavarres King takes the spot that was occupied by Matthew Willis roster spot, and Stokes would take Andre Caldwell's spot. I think it would be worth it.
Dwight has been a debated topic ever since the Broncos were in the Defensive End market. So there is no need to go on about him. But many of the Colts fans who have watched him closely the last few years think he has something in the tank. When he was in his prime, he was a dominant pass rusher. At the age of 33, if healthy, he would still have the strength, technique, and a measure explosiveness needed to get to the QB. To what extent could certainly be debated. But you can always use another pass rusher, and he would give you another potential weapon, while adding depth to the position.
That being said, Shaun Phillips was signed to the role that Freeney would have been. And Freeney wants about $4 million bucks. It would have to be at a cheaper price than he wants, even after he lowered his demands. So I find it unlikely that the Broncos look at him again. And if they do, it would have to come really cheap, meaning Freeney would take more to play somewhere else. Denver did well getting a cheaper, more versatile guy, who is a few years younger, in Phillips.
Veterans past their prime can still be solid role players. They add an experienced presence to the team. They also have a hunger to win that can carry over to the other players, since they know their career will soon be over. I would like the Broncos to take advantage of the win-now approach looking at a few solid veterans. These are a few that could potentially be beneficial to the roster. A roster that is young and promising, but that could benefit from a few more experienced role players.
And lets do a poll if you feel like chiming in: