Training Camp is less than a week away. How good does it sound to write/read that? That means the questions surrounding the roster are beginning to heat up and the Broncos are sure to address several of these issues over the next few days. The Denver Post discusses some of these questions as well. Here are some of my thoughts, which means I am inviting yours --
Draft Picks -- The Broncos have signed only one of their four draft picks, 4th rounder Marcus Thomas, and considering the baggage Thomas came into the League with it could only benefit Thomas to sign as quickly as possible. If past history is any indication, the Broncos should have no problem getting deals done with Jarvis Moss, Tim Crowder and Ryan Harris. Tatum Bell was the last Broncos draft pick to hold out and the team has a solid history of getting the deals done in the nick of time. The Broncos should have a bit of a framework when it comes to Moss since the Steelers agreed to terms with the #15 pick Lawrenece Timmons. Moss was the 17th pick and will probably receive a deal close to Timmons' 5-year/$15 million deal that guarantees the linebacker $7-$8 million. Changes in the CBA, specifically the length of contracts a 2nd Round pick can sign, are complicating matter somewhat for Crowder, but in the end the Broncos will get him in. Most third rounders are simply waiting to see who gets what around them, and you should see a flurry of signings over the next 48 hours.
Wide Receiver Concerns -- Mike Shanahan is going to give Rod Smith all the time he needs to determine whether or not he can get back on the football field. It appears likely that Smith will be placed on the PUP(Physically Unable to Perform) List early in Training Camp. The affords the Broncos some roster flexibility while allowing Smith to get healthy at his own pace. A player placed on the PUP List can be activated at any time during Training Camp, and can remain on the List through the first 6 Weeks of the regular season. With Rod out of the picture, at least early in camp, other guys will get the opportunity to show what they can do. Someone is going to have to step up, with Brandon Marshall the #1 candidate. Marshall has had trouble all off-season with leg injuries and will need to prove he can stay healthy. As for Smith, he has yet to begin running and to say his recovery from off-season hip surgery has been slow would be under-stating the fact.
The Broncos do have some positive news regarding the wide-outs. Brandon Stokley looks ready to go and should begin practicing early on in camp. Shanny, who always takes it easy on the vets in camp, will no doubt allow Stokley time to back to full speed, but it is a huge plus if Stokley can get significant action during the Pre-Season, especially if Rod Smith cannot go.
More Problems For Brandon -- The Broncos appear to have a decision to make. Sam Brandon is already trying to come back from a bad knee injury. He has recently been suspended for the first two games of the season for not being a good boy in the ees of the League. I have stated on MHR Radio in the past that it isn't easy to come back from major knee surgery and Brandon seems to be coming back slowly. Talks with the Chiefs regarding Greg Wesley continue and if the Broncos can finalize a deal for Wesley it could mean the end for Brandon in Denver. At the least the Broncos could PUP-List Brandon or perhaps place him on I/R, but Shanny has little patience for players that get busted. Definitely a story to keep our eyes on.
Let me tell ya, it's just a blast to actually be talking football again and soon we'll have Training Camp reports and Pre-Season games to breakdown. Life is good!