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Broncos' free agency in 2015 has wildly varying grades

In John Elway we trust - not in PFF - right?

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Compared to previous offseasons, the Denver Broncos' free agency in 2015 has been a little underwhelming. There certainly isn't the acquisition of four to-be Pro Bowl players like there was in 2014, when the Broncos added DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, and Emmanuel Sanders as free agents. There hasn't even been a Wes Welker to get really excited about.

Instead, apparently strapped for cash if not cap, the Broncos have had to pinch pennies and let some key players go. But they tried to mitigate the exodus by signing other options at those positions.

Using PFF grades as a guide (not a definitive metric, but a starting point), let's look at how the Broncos have addressed several specific positions.

Tight end

Pos Player Signed with Contract Annual $ PFF in 2014
TE Julius Thomas Jacksonville Jaguars 5 years, $46 million $9.2 million 5.4
TE Virgil Green Denver Broncos 3 years, $8.4 million $2.8 million 1.8
TE Owen Daniels Denver Broncos 3 years, $12 million $4 million -0.1

Losing Julius Thomas' playmaking abilities will sting, but there's no way the Broncos would have been able to compete with J.T.'s offer (or Florida's no-income-tax - let's be clear, this was a money move for Julius).

I think the Broncos did a good job to make sure they retained Virgil Green, and adding Owen Daniels should help. At the end of the day, they end up with two tight ends for less than the price of one, and with Peyton Manning at quarterback, we could see each of these players step up.

Monty's grade: B


Pos Player Signed with Contract Annual $ PFF in 2014
G Orlando Franklin San Diego Chargers 5 years, $36.5 million $7.3 million 15.4
G Shelley Smith Denver Broncos 2 years, $5.65 million $2.8 million -10.1

This looks to be the worst move of free agency for John Elway this year. Letting Orlando Franklin hit the market has left a gaping hole in an offensive line that was already pretty swiss cheese-like, and signing Smith to try and fill a gap doesn't appear to be a prudent move. Sure, he's a Kubiak guy and knows his system, but at $2.8 million per year, he's getting paid starter money. That's a big assumption in my eyes, and while I'd love to be proved wrong, right now I'm not on board with this move until I can dig deeper.

Monty's grade: F

Defensive tackle

Pos Player Signed with Contract Annual $ PFF in 2014
DT Terrance Knighton Washington Redskins 1 year, $4 million $4 million 15.3
DT Vance Walker Denver Broncos 2 years, $4 million $2 million 6.8

No one knows why Pot Roast closed his doors to Denver, or if it was the other way around. Certainly a one-year, $4 million deal was within the Broncos' realm of possibility. But, for some reason, the talks didn't progress to a point where that could be agreed to, and Knighton signed what is ostensibly a one-year, show-me deal so he can strike it big and rich next year. Best of luck to him. Denver's signing of Walker was a decent mitigation.

Monty's grade: C


Pos Player Signed with Contract Annual $ PFF in 2014
S Rahim Moore Houston Texans 3 years, $12 million $4 million 2.4
S Darian Stewart Denver Broncos One year, unknown Likely $1-2 million 7.0

Hello, upgrade! At first glance, it would appear so, but it's important to recognize that Stewart was a bit limited in 2014, and that a big chunk of that 7.0 came in the last two games alone in the playoffs (+4.0 in two games). But what's wrong with that? The Broncos chose someone who can step up in the postseason rather than someone who... never mind.

Monty's grade: A

How would you grade the Broncos' free agency now that we're more than one week in?