After that stunning loss in the SB, we lost one more year in search of the Lombardi trophy. Under Peyton Manning we may only have one more chance, and after that, there are years of mediocrity ahead for this team. John Elway has to make one final push to win the SB. After going one-and-done, we made the SB. It's possible losing the SB will propel this team to a championship next year, but Elway has to make the right moves this offseason. I know I will get hate from this, but Champ Bailey should be cut, or signed to the minimum salary. He has lost more than a step, and simply cannot play outside anymore. At times he managed in the slot, but at his age (36 years), he is no longer worth his contract. He had an injury riddled campaign, and is due 10 million. Unless Champ agrees to a minimum contract he won't be back, and if he is, it will be as a backup slot corner. He does not have the skill set to play FS like many think. JUst because the Woodson's did it, doesn't mean he can. He has never played there before, and it's ridiculous to think he can play it better than someone who has played that position their hole life. He's too small, is no longer a ball hawk, and is completely untrustworthy to be the last defender. On the outside he uses the sideline to get the ball carrier, but in the middle of the field he will get run over, ran by, or jumped over by younger and bigger athletes. Put it this way; Earl Thomas can and has tackled big running backs and tight ends, and do you think Champ can? If Montee Ball is running at Champ in the open field he would get destroyed. So the final verdict; cut or bring Champ back at minimum salary so we can sign a real safety like Jairus Byrd.
Apart from Champ, others will have to be cut. Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreesen, Quentin Jammer, Tony Carter, Mike Adams, Paris Lennon, Robert Ayers, and Zane Beadles will not be Broncos next year. This will open up nearly 30 million in cap space with the cap being increased by 4 million dollars. With this money Elway can choose any FA's he wants. This team desperately needs a DE, S, MLB, and CB. A very good signing at DE would be Michael Bennet. He is very long and fast, and would be a great tandem with Von Miller. Another option here would be Lamarr Houston, and this choice likely comes down to who Elway and JDR decides fits their scheme better. At safety there are a number of players available, but this time the most expensive player, Jairus Byrd, is the right player to get. He is a physical safety, and sees the field exceptionally well. He would provide a big spark to this team, and wreaks havock on QB's. The only good option I see at MLB is Donald Butler. As the chargers are prone to losing their best players he will likely be available, unlike Karlos Dansby. He is a very solid MLB and can play every down, he would lift this LB core to a new level. As he is a true MLB he will be able to get off blocks, unlike Wesley Woodyard, and be able to drop in coverage, unlike Paris Lennon. At CB there are a number of possibilities such as Alterraun Verner, Captain Munnerlyn, and Aqib Talib. All would be a upgrade, and provide much needed depth at the position. With Chris Harris's injury, you have to have another shutdown corner opposite DRC. When Chris Harris does come back, he could slip back into his slot corner position, and create a top secondary.
As for the draft, Elway needs to pick his players depending on who he acquires in FA. As I see it inevitable he signs a DE, I'm not going to break that position down. As for S, MLB, and CB he could go either way, and add players through the draft or FA. Despite what many say, I believe Rahim Moore is a stud, and paired with an even better safety could excel. As long as he can come back helathy, he should be a starter. If we don't add Jairus Byrd, a player I really like is Lamarcus Joyner. He is a bit undersized for the position but reminds me a lot of the former best safety in the NFL, Bob Sanders. He lays the boom, and can be a real tone setter. JUst like Bob sanders, he is a wild card. He can play corner, safety, and can come up to stuff the run or blitz the QB. He would be a ajor upgrade over Duke Ihenacho, and give JDR many options in his game planning. If Donald Butler isn't a Bronco next year, Chris Borland or Shayne Skov will be. Neither are explosive athletes, but their tape tells the tale. They were both very productive in college, and have great vision and instincts. Best of all, they will be available in the 2nd or 3rd round. At CB I think we should add a CB through FA and the draft. I guy I really like is Kyle Fuller. He has good size, fluid hips, and has a lot of potential. He too will likely be available in the 2nd round. At our mid round draft picks we should add an OT. Our offensive line struggled from so many players playing out of position, and this would really strengthen the line. We could have Clady at LT, Franklin at LG, Ramirez at C, Vasquez at RG, and whoever we draft at RT/Chris Clark. This draft is very deep at OT, and the talent from the early rounds to the last isn't very different. Even if his pick doesn't start, it will provide much needed depth.
This team has holes, but they can all be filled, and now it's up to John Elway to do just that.