Almost two weeks ago ESPN's Jeff Legwold tweeted out that the Denver Broncos were expected to target centers in early portions of Free Agency. Also, ESPN's Adam Caplan suggested that Oakland Raiders center Stefen Wisniewski is a player to "keep an eye on" for the Broncos, and I suggested that the Broncos should look into Rodney Hudson. However, there was no real reports at the time connecting the Broncos to those two players, only rumors.
That all changed yesterday when the Denver Post's Mike Klis reported yesterday that the Denver Broncos have "expressed interest" in Rodney Hudson and Stefen Wisniewski.
The Broncos have expressed interest in both centers. It is known the Chiefs want Hudson back and the Indianapolis Colts are among the teams in need of a center, so the Broncos may have to pay more than $7 million a year to get him. If the bidding gets too rich, the Broncos may consider Wisniewski at roughly $5 million to $6 million per year.
Hudson is the top center on the free agent market and is one of the better centers in the entire NFL. Hudson graded out as the third-ranked center according to Pro Football Focus. Hudson's grade of +13.0 ranked third in the NFL among eligible centers, behind two Pro Bowlers in the Jets Nick Mangold (22.6) and the Cowboys Travis Frederick (19.8) and ahead of two more in the Steelers Maurkice Pouncey (9.8) and the Eagles Jason Kelce (7.5).
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Hudson is only 25 years old and has been improving every year since he was a second-round selection by the Chiefs back in 2011.
Center is one of the Broncos biggest needs this offseason. Will Montgomery who replaced Manny Ramirez as the starter mid-season is a free agent. Manny Ramirez is a poor fit for Gary Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme and could be cut in the coming days. Hudson would be an immediate upgrade and has the athleticism to be successful in Kubiak's system.
Hudson makes a ton of sense, but it will all come down to what he is asking for. It's been reported that Hudson could be looking to be the highest paid center in the league, and will command at least $7 million-per-year.
If the Broncos deem the price too high they will set their sights on Stefen Wisniewski. I don't view him as a top tier center like Rodney Hudson, but would give the Broncos an experienced center who would give them an upgrade over what they currently have.
Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway has made multiple big free agent splashes each offseason, and I for one hope that Elway can land Rodney Hudson who is young top tier center who can anchor the Broncos offensive line for many years to come.