And now the hard part. The Broncos started the free agent period with a flurry of trades and retirements, free agent visits and false signing reports. When the dust settled the Broncos had signed exactly one free agent, OL Montrae Holland, a name probably unknown amongst most Broncos fans. Such is the way of life when you are going after the creme-de-la-creme of the free agent market, players that want to test the market and have earned the right ot do so. As we head into the week, the Broncos haven't been able to close the deal on their desired targets, but haven't lost out either. Let's take a look at the latest --
DE Patrick Kerney -- You have to repsect a guy that keeps his word. Kerney said he would spend Sunday in Seattle regardless of what the Broncos offered and to the chagrin of Broncos fans he kept that promise leaving Denver at 5:00pm Saturday Afternoon. Perhaps more telling were Kerney's comments about his stay and about the Broncos in general, "The figures are right there, it's just a matter of how it all comes together for both teams. I've always sort of kept an eye on Denver, a consistent winner, a contender, and that's very important to me," Kerney said. "They have guys out here who I know. Al Wilson and John Lynch and Champ Bailey, they're just awesome performers, (Ebenezer) Ekuban as well. . . . And to boot, it's a great part of the country that I enjoy." It might be lip service but Kerney has always been someone that say what he means and means what he says. I still think it is going to be hard for the Broncos to out-bid the Seahwaks for his services, but if Kerney means what he says about money not being the deciding factor he could be a Bronco soon. Probability 6/10
TE Daniel Graham -- As good as I feel about the Kerney situation I feel completely opposite about Graham. The impression I get from Graham is that he is going to take the last dollar and wants guarantees that he is going to be a big time pass catcher. A guy like that will sign with a loser team like the Raiders, get his stats, and go 4-12 every year. I don't know if I really blame him. He has some hardware thanks to the Patriots, and when the quest for rings has been fulfilled you have to think the quest for greenbacks has to take over. Graham was a luxory, anyway, and one I think the Broncos should simply take a pass on. Probability 4/10
RB Ahman Green -- Now off the market after being signed by the Texans, I bring up Green becuase I am elated the Broncos didn't sign him. Green has alot of miles on his tires and if he does have anything left it will be used up this year. 4 years at $26 million was a reach, but Kubiak needs to make a splash and get the Texans back to respectability. The Broncos don't have that desperation and thus don't need to overpay. A solid non-move by the Broncos. Signed - Houston Texans
RB Travis Henry -- Henry looks to be the apple of Shanny's eye, judging by the fact that the former Bill and Titan spent the night last night in Denver. Henry doesn't come without his own concerns, however, stemming from his 4-game suspension in 2005 for violating the substance abuse policy. That means if Henry has another transgression he's gone for a year. That's a big risk and has to be considered when you are thinking about making the guy your featured running back. Shanny has been burned in the past by 'Substance Abuse Policy' guys and be sure that it will be factored in to any contract offered to Henry. Becuase of that, and becuase a team like the Raiders will throw alot of guaranteed money at him despite the concerns I am going to be cautious at best with my probability ratio, though it's something we need to keep an eye on. Probability 5/10
QB Brad Johnson -- I called this one before Johnson was released, and I feel better about it after his visit. Johnson would be a perfect fit to back up Cutty, and I think everyone involved knows it. The Broncos are keeping their options open, however, and Patrick Ramsey was in town yesterday for a visit, but Johnson is the main target. After Denver, Johnson went south to visit with the Cowboys, but I don't think the Cowboys offense, more verticle than the package run by the Broncos, fits the type of quarterback Johnson is at this point. I think this gets done in the next couple of days. Probability 8/10
It is thought that each of the players above could make their decisions as early as today. I will keep my ear to the rail, awaiting word of any wins or losses, so keep it here!
Bailey Give The Broncos Flexibility -- By turning some salary into signing bonus, Champ Bailey was able to give the Broncos some $3.5 million of cap space. Bailey seems to be the type of player that will do his part to try and help the team win. It was a yearly deal back in the days of John Elway, and Champ has alot of thos same qualities. Being the highest paid player on the team has many responsibilities, and helping out the team when you can is one of them. Oh, and for those who think that Champ is no longer the highest paid DB in the laegue, no worries. Nate Clements new deal, though reported to average $10 million per year will actually check in aat around $8 million. Bailey is a bargain at $9 million per year.
Does Dre Bly Want To Be A Bronco? Two teams were in it 'til the end for Dre Bly, with the Broncos finally outlasting the Washington Redskins for Bly's services. According to Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post, that didn't sit well with Bly, a Chesapeake, Va resident. According to the Redskins Insider, the Broncos have been unwilling to extend Bly's contract, something that Bly has told numerous NFL players Redskins' Owner Daniel Snyder was willing to do. The Redskins were dangling Shawn Springs to the Lions, and reportedly offered Springs to the Broncos for Bly after the deal went down, but Springs' $7.5 million cap number makes that bad business. The column goes on to say it is possible that Bly could try to force his way out of Denver, and should that happen the Redskins and Broncos, who have been trade partners the past three off-seasons, coould tango again. It's definitely something to keep out eye on.