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Horse Tracks: Best remaining free agents

Good Morning Broncos Country!

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While the Broncos haven't made any splashy free agent signings like we are used too, they have been active. They re-signed tight end Virgil Green and signed veteran Owen Daniels to replace Julius Thomas. They also signed safety Darian Stewart, defensive lineman Vance Walker, guard Shelley Smith, and linebacker Reggie Walker to add depth and competition at positions that are considered holes.

Now we're entering the so-called "third wave of free agency" where certain players asking prices have dropped and can be had for a reasonable price. So let's take a look at the best remaining free agents remaining on the market. (via: Pro Football Talk)

1. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree:

The former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver has met with the Miami Dolphins. They recently traded speedster Mike Wallace to the Minnesota Vikings and are in need for a veteran option for quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Crabtree is coming off a disappointing season for the 49ers. He totaled 68 receptions for 698 yards and 4 touchdowns. I would expect him to sign a deal similar to the one Hakeem Nicks signed last season with the Indianapolis Colts.

Does Crabtree make sense for the Broncos?:


The Broncos are currently set at wide receiver. They placed the Franchise tag on Demaryius Thomas, and Emmanuel Sanders is coming off a breakout season. They also have second-year wide receiver Cody Latimer on the roster.

2. Center Stefen Wisniewski:

Wisniewski is the best remaining offensive lineman remaining on the free agent market. He has met with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks, but nothing has materialized from those visits as of yet.

Wisniewski had a down year with the Oakland Raiders this past season but could be a solid addition to an offensive line. He can play guard or center and has been successful in years past.

Does Wisniewski make sense for the Broncos?:

Yes, yes he does.

Prior to free agency it was reported that the Broncos had interest in Wisniewski, but nothing has really come from those reports/rumors as of yet. Many have assumed that he is too pricey for the Broncos, but the longer he remains on the market the cheaper he becomes.

I think it's unlikely that the Broncos can afford him at this point, but I am still holding out hope.

3. Tight End Jermaine Gresham:

Gresham nearly signed with the Oakland Raiders, but they discovered that he had a herniated disc that required surgery. This will keep him off the field until near the beginning of Training Camp at the very least.

Gresham has been a disappointment for the Bengals but did garner some interest on the free agent market prior to his surgery. The Raiders nearly signed him, and the Buffalo Bills also had interest in him.

Does Gresham make sense for the Broncos?:

At this point, no.

The Broncos have Virgil Green and Owen Daniels at tight end, and probably will add one in the draft.

4. Linebacker Brandon Spikes:

The market for the hard-hitting linebacker has been pretty quiet thus far. He spent this past season with the Buffalo Bills, but they decided against re-signing the veteran.

The 6'2 255lb linebacker is just a two-down run stopper at this point in his career, but he's still pretty good. He totaled 54 tackles and 1 sack for the Bills this past season.

Does Spikes make sense for the Broncos?:


It looks like the plan is to go with linebackers Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan at the inside linebacker spots. Both are weak-side linebackers in a 4-3 defense, and I have concerns that one or both of them will struggle at the ILB spots

Spikes would give the Broncos some added size and strength in the middle of their defense. Marshall or Trevathan can sub in for him on passing downs.

5. Linebacker Rolando McClain:

The troubled former first-round pick had a comeback year last season for the Dallas Cowboys. However, weeks before free agency it was reported that McClain is facing a four-game fine for violating the league's drug policy. He is now one failed drug test away from a four-game suspension.

He's only 25 years old and is coming off a season where he totaled 81 tackles, 1 sack and 2 interceptions for the Dallas Cowboys. The issue with him will be the off the field stuff.

Does he make sense for the Broncos?:

Probably not.

The Broncos haven't really signed any "character risk" players in the past. The closest would be cornerback Aqib Talib, but he had a few good years in the league prior to signing with the Broncos.

6. Offensive tackle Joe Barksdale:

The 6'5 326lb Barksdale is the best available tackle remaining on the free agent market. He has started 29 games at right tackle for the St. Louis Rams the past two seasons.

Barksdale is a very good run blocker, but like most right tackles has some issues in pass protection. At this point and time, he would be a good value signing for a team in need of a right tackle.

Does Barksdale make sense for the Broncos?


If the Broncos have faith in second-year player Michael Schofield to take over the right tackle position, then they wouldn't have any interest in him. If they have concerns, they could become players for him.

However, like Wisniewski the asking price here is what matters the most. I think the Broncos will ultimately end up addressing the tackle position in the draft instead of free agency.

7. Inside linebacker Mason Foster:

The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker is generating some interest on the free agent market. The Chicago Bears and the San Diego Chargers are both expressing interest in the 5th-year veteran.

Foster has started 54 games for the Buccaneers in the past four seasons. In those four years, he totaled 343 tackles, 6 sacks, and 5 interceptions.

Does Foster make sense for the Broncos?:

Not really.

The Broncos already have two linebackers like Foster on the roster currently. I don't think Foster is a good fit in a 3-4 defense though the Bears and Chargers both run 3-4 defenses.

I'd be surprised if they showed interest in him after signing Reggie Walker.

Other names: Denarius Moore, Hakeem Nicks, Anthony Collins, Red Bryant, Justin Blalock, Greg Jennings, James Casey, Chris Myers and Byron Bell.

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