Kyle Montgomery: Good day gentlemen! It's been a couple of days since we visited the wide receiver position, and already since then, things have changed. First, the Broncos haven't tendered Trindon Holliday, and aren't expected to. He was technically a wide receiver, so that means the Broncos head into free agency with basically two wide receivers under contract - Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker. Second, they released Champ Bailey, giving themselves $10 million in cap space.
Let's start out with the first question - does releasing Champ give you more hope they will sign Eric Decker? Should they?
Tim Lynch: No. I think John Elway has a specific plan to target other guys in free agency and he needs the cap space to do it. The plan doesn't appear to include Champ Bailey or Eric Decker.
Kyle: Well, certainly not Champ Bailey. I agree. I don't think the Broncos have any intent on keeping Decker, unless he falls on the market and comes crawling back to them at a reasonable rate. That doesn't seem likely. So what do the Broncos do? Is there a free agent wideout that interests you?
Jon Heath: I wouldn't spend a dime on Eric Decker unless he's willing to return at a bargain price for. But he won't; he's going to ask for No. 1 WR money. No way Denver gives it to him with Demaryius Thomas and Von Miller due big deals next offseason. Decker has had his highs and lows, but overall, I believe he is replaceable. The question is, who will replace him?
Christopher Hart: Even with the Broncos clearing space by releasing Champ Bailey, the Broncos cannot afford to invest those resources in re-signing Eric Decker. That is way too much money going towards a second receiver when Demaryius Thomas is scheduled for a pay raise and the wealth of other needs on defense that need investment first. The Broncos will likely look for value options at receiver in free agency -- any decent or above average receiver would give us depth and flexibility at the position. One name to consider is former Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant. He isn't the most flashy player in the NFL, but he runs great routes and has terrific hands. He is the kind leader and experience the Broncos need at the position.
Denver also needs to take advantage of the tremendous depth and quality at receiver in the 2014 NFL Draft class. I have thirteen receivers with top three round grades -- which is unheard of. Some names Broncos fans should be watching as the Draft approaches are what I call my "Big 3" -- Jordan Matthews, Donte Moncrief and Allen Robinson. Guys who could be legitimate replacements for Eric Decker and be able to contribute for us immediately on offense.
Big Pete: I agree with everything Christopher just said. While I like Decker and think he runs good routes, he will simply be too expensive. Besides, DT, JT, and Von are all coming up for big pay days. The cap space for that alone will be tight, let alone what it would take to sign Decker. We must not forget the Peyton Manning Effect. Some people roll their eyes at it, but I truly believe that Peyton will make good receivers great and great receivers amazing. (Decker being good while looking great and DT being great while looking amazing).
If I'm the GM, I'm signing Bubba back to stretch the field on the other side of DT. Not only will that give our vertical game a huge boost, but it will also clear out the middle of the field for the RBs to work their magic. Less boxed coverages and bodies in the middle of the field equal more room for our RBs to run. Besides, we still have Welker and JT/Green to work the underneath stuff. Let DT and Bubba eat while opening up the middle for everyone else including the RBs on handoffs.
Jon: Thanks for doing the dirty work, Christopher. /goes watches film of Matthews, Moncrief, and Robinson.
Bronco Mike: Here is what I would do exactly:
Decker is gone, don't worry about him.
Resign Bubba Caldwell, he can take over Decker's spot.
Sign Ted Ginn (made 1.1 million last season) for cheap to be your #4 receiver and return man
Draft a slot WR to groom when Wes Welker leaves in a year
Kyle: Can I just put my name on what Mike wrote? He and I are seeing eye to eye at WR.
I still think we can draft an upgrade at WR to Bubba if one's available. As someone who embraces the Best Player Available philosophy, wide receiver is definitely a position I consider in picks 1-3, especially given this draft class. I'll also be keeping an extra close eye on Gerrell Robinson this training camp.
The Broncos need to add 2-3 guys, but none of them have to be Eric Decker.
Jon: Ah, Gerrell Robinson, I almost forgot about him.
Ian: Gerell Robinson is currently listed as a tight end for whatever reason. Maybe he's finding his spot on the active roster that way.
There is a wide receiver in the draft that I have talked to a few of you about and fell in love with over the last few years, Robert Herron. Apparently both Mike Mayock and I agree, Mayock mentioned Herron several times during the combine as a player that he sees jumping up draft boards. Right now he is being placed at a 4th or 5th round grade, but being from so close to Denver, the Broncos no doubt have him on their radar.
I don't see any other solution for Denver other than to get receivers through the draft. Especially with Jeremy Maclin off the call sheet, James Jones is the only veteran (other than Denver's own Decker and Andre Caldwell) that I see being worth the time, effort and money.
One guy who was in camp last season that I would love to see back in camp is Kemonte' Bateman out of New Mexico State.
Mike: Robinson doesn't have burst or quickness out of his cuts. I'm actually intrigued by this development, he would make a fine pass catching TE.
Kyle: Guess we can save that for the tight end roundtable! It sounds like we're all mostly at a consensus at wide receiver.